Paula Piccinini is enjoying some interesting times,
courtesy of being dragged into her husband’s electioneering
and activism pursuits. This week a letter rolled off the fax from the US
Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington accepting News Corp’s
rejection of my tilt at Rupert’s board. Paula was the shareholder nominee.
SEC Special Counsel Ted Yu wrote the following in response to this four page legal letter that News Corp’s Third Avenue law firm in New York sent to
the American corporate plod on 6 July requesting that my board tilt be rejected because it was too late:
To the extent the submission involves a rule 14a-8 issue,
there appears to be some basis for your view that News Corporation may
exclude the submission under 14a-8(e)(2) because News Corp received it
after the deadline for submitting proposals. Accordingly, we will not
recommend enforcement action to the Commission if News Corporation
omits the submission from its proxy materials.
Oh well, maybe next year.
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The more interesting development is Paula’s tilt at the board of
Victoria’s biggest and sleepiest mutual, the RACV. All things being
equal, women traditionally get about 25% more votes
than men in RACV elections and this year Paula is up against five
blokes in their 60s, including two incumbents with a combined board
tenure of 46 years.
Unlike the NRMA, RACV does not allow candidates to distribute a
platform, which makes the photo, qualifications, memberships and
professional credentials that are published in Royal Auto all the more
Have a look at last year’s information here
and you’ll note that it just says Paula is a “barrister”. This year
they’ve permitted “Barrister and mother of three” – a major point of
difference to the other candidates and something which should pull in a
few more votes given that only two of the 16 directors are female.
It’s a big call, but I reckon Paula will knock off one of the
incumbents. Her running mate, Professor Marcus Wigan,
is also a chance as he got very close to
winning in 2002 when he polled 14,844 votes to finish marginally behind
the second incumbent, John Rawlins, who polled 16,280 votes.
You heard the prediction first here folks, although I’ve been wrong many times before.