AMA Group Appoints Brian Austin Chair As It Fills Board Positions, Slashes Directors’ Fees

AMA Group has finalised its board following last week’s resignation of former Chair Caroline Waldron and Non-Executive Directors Kyle Loades, Kim Stewart-Smith and Talbot Babineau.

Effective immediately, Brian Austin is the group’s new Chair, Joanne Dawson becomes a non-executive director and Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee, while existing non-executive director Ray Smith-Roberts has been appointed Chair of the People Committee.

The board also abolished the role of Deputy Chair.

Austin was reportedly the preferred choice of Alex Waislitz, Executive Chairman of AMA Group shareholder Thorney Opportunities, which acted to oust Waldron, Loades and Babineau from the board in May.

A non-executive director of the group since December 2023, Austin previously served on the AMA Group board of directors from December 2015 to February 2020.

Dawson is a chartered accountant and Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She is also Non-Executive Director at Centuria Capital Group, PSC Insurance Group, Vision Super, Bank First and PetSure (Australia). Her prior roles include senior positions at Deloitte and National Australia Bank, and Chair of EL&C Baillieu.

Smith-Roberts has been a non-executive director of AMA Group since March 2024, and was an executive director of the group from February 2014 to November 2019.

Austin, Smith-Roberts, Dawson and David Goldstein will form the Audit and Risk Committee while Austin, Goldstein, Dawson and Smith-Roberts will make up the People Committee.

AMA Group also announced that it will reduce fees paid to some board members. Effective 1 July 2024, the chair’s fee will drop $125,000 to $100,000 in line with non-executive directors, while the company will abolish its $15,000 payment to committee chairs.

“This is an exciting time for the group,” said Austin. “Our new, leaner board structure with reduced fees will be a significant cost saving for the group, while ensuring we have the appropriate skills on the board. We will also be enhancing our efforts on improving efficiencies within the business. Finally, I welcome Jo to the board and look forward to her invaluable contributions as a highly experienced non-executive director and Audit and Risk Chair.”

AMA Group said it continues to pursue a refinancing of its debt, with an update expected on, or prior to, the release of the group’s FY2024 results.