My only wish in life is to die a man inspired by as much as possible of what this remarkable and unpredictable world has to offer. When one slips into eternity, be it peacefully or in violence, all that can be hoped for is the chance to have witnessed life’s exquisite moments. A bloody nose, yet a playground triumph. A first trembling and fumbled kiss. To make love on a tropical beach with a steel drum band in the distance and the sun dipping over the Caribbean. The lusty wail of a newborn breathing in the planet’s hazy air for the first time…
… and Mel Bridges protesting executive compensation at a public company AGM.
At this week’s Impedimed (ASX : IPD) AGM the world was witness to a transformational moment in the evolution of ASX biosciences. If this were a Star Wars episode, it would be akin to a Sith Lord joining the Rebel Alliance. If this was a high-pressure Star Trek combat engagement, it would be the moral equivalent of Klingons scraping themselves off the Enterprise’s starboard bow and reporting-in for dish-washing duty. Frankly, it’s the astounding equivalent of Winnie the Poh going – “f*ckit, I know it’s a Friday night, but I’ve had quite enough honey for one week.”
Yes folks, at the Impedimed AGM, Dr. Mel Bridges publicly objected to the compensation package of Rich Carreon. You might not glean this from the 251AA(2) disclosure, but it happened.
Now, I have disdainfully commented on ASX bioscience executive compensation a number of times, and it is mostly woeful. The history of largess, of lack of respect for shareholder capital, of just plain pissing away money is phenomenal. In a prior post I “racked ‘n stacked” compensation and if you take a look at corporate performance, Carreon’s pay packet is not only fair – it’s probably slightly marginal given the current USD exchange rate. The last US CompStudy report I have from 2013 (I am sure you can find a more recent one somewhere – though not much has fundamentally changed and if anything, quality exec talent is in higher demand than ever) clearly demonstrates that Mr. Carreon’s compensation is entirely within the realm of a successful company demonstrating growth and shareholder value creation, within its market cap range. In fact, not only has the company demonstrated growth, but Mr. Carreon can pretty much be personally attributed for turning a complete disaster of a company into something that is actually worthy of investment.
And you want to know what the funniest thing is? Here is a copy of Dr. Bridge’s current public CV. Now, it’s very impressive – there is no doubt that this is a guy who has “moved and shaked” the sector for a long time, notwithstanding his bewildering penchant for pineapple stems (probably just a Queensland thing and unlikely to be contagious). But if you read all the bits related to Impedimed – particularly at the end of Page 7 – you will clearly see that this a guy who is pretty damned chuffed with the performance of the company. Dr. Bridges claims a personal 4x return (currently) – probably 25x on exit (that should make shareholders happy to know).
So why all the huff and puff for a CEO that is actually doing a good job? Especially considering that without Mr. Carreon’s talented intervention, this would be a company still fumbling around in the dark.
It’s ironic at so many different levels. But well done, Mel. Well done.