REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT TRUSTS & FUNDS

Cromwell appoints new chair

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CROMWELL Property Group has confirmed Jane Tongs has its new independent non-executive chair, following a sensational annual general meeting that triggered a board spill, which claimed chairman Leon Blitz and two other directors.

Major shareholder ARA Asset Management combined with the Tang family to drive a second strike against the group’s remuneration report on Wednesday, marking another flashpoint in ARA and Cromwell’s extended tussle for control of the fund manager. Cromwell must now hold a spill meeting within 90 days.

Deputy chairman Andrew Fay and director John Humphrey were also rejected at the AGM.

Singaporean investment house ARA Asset Management has been gradually upping its stake to nearly 30% while putting forward a proportional takeover bid, and in September had its nominees appointed to the board after multiple failed attempts. Among those were Gary Weiss, who had come close twice before, while shareholders also voted in prolific director and fellow ARA nominee, ABC board member Joe Gersh.

ARA and the Tang family’s votes were largely responsible for Weiss and Gersh being voted onto the board.