Fight over The Rock heats up

THE fight for control of Rockhampton's building society heated up yesterday as financial heavyweights traded blows.

The Rock's managing director, Derek Lightfoot, said he was confident the society's 3,300 individual shareholders would deliver a knock-out blow to a challenge by his predecessor, Kerry Daly and QTI managing director Mike Hackett who are bidding to oust two directors and give the company a shake-up.

Mr Lightfoot urged all shareholders to attend the company's annual meeting on November 5 or vote by proxy in support of The Rock chairman John Maxwell and director Bradford Beasley.

Shareholders have received an information pack ahead of the meeting which, in addition to detailed responses to attacks by Mr Daly, says an independent consultant who investigated Mr Daly's background `assessed his credentials to sit on The Rock board.

A statement in the information pack says the board's remuneration committee has already concluded he is not “fit and proper”.

The statement also says that although it has not completed a fit and proper review of Mr Hackett, the independent sub-committee doesn't believe he has any recent or relevant skills that would enhance the board.

Mr Daly resigned from The Rock in 2001.

Mr Lightfoot said the current board was happy to stand on its record as one of the strongest performing financial institutions in the country over the past year.

Speaking to The Morning Bulletin yesterday from QTI's Brisbane office, Mr Hackett said the statement to shareholders showed that the board was rattled by the challenge.

“I have to say that the comments included in that statement are quite preposterous and disrespectful. Kerry was fit and proper for the 13 years he was in charge at The Rock. QTI has looked at every aspect of his business dealings and found him to be entirely trustworthy.

“What they are trying to say is that because he was involved with Lehmans Australia he is flawed in some way. All he did was build up a successful company which he sold to Lehmans for $120 million. He remained as an employee and was one of 30,000 employees worldwide caught up in the collapse of the American parent company.”

Mr Hackett said QTI invested in The Rock because it could be extremely prosperous.

“But it needs refreshing because it is in decline.”

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