Newcrest slams ISS pressure

Miner criticises proxy adviser for urging partial board spill.

Newcrest Mining (NCM) has slammed proxy adviser ISS for urging investors to vote against the re-election of three Newcrest directors, according to The Australian Financial Review.

ISS advised shareholders ahead of Newcrest's annual meeting on October 24 to vote against the re-election of Richard Lee, Tim Poole and John Spark over roles they may have played in the controversy that hit Newcrest earlier this year over disclosure ahead of an asset downgrade and writedown.

The three directors came into ISS's crosshairs because of their seats on Newcrest's audit committee, which came under fire during the controversy when allegations surfaced in June that Newcrest management may have selectively briefed analysts ahead of the writedown and production downgrade.

However, Newcrest said it was “disappointing and puzzling” for ISS to lobby for the three directors to be spilled, arguing that the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) had not found the company to be in breach of its disclosure obligations, the AFR added.

Meanwhile, some of the miner's most senior owners have reportedly pushed for chairman Don Mercer to set a date for his departure.

According to the AFR, during recent meetings with institutional investors, BlackRock and First Eagle, have urged clarity on boardroom succession while also making known concerns over the lack of directors' operational experience in the mining sector.