Dash for diversity costs DJs, Myer: Harvey

Dash for diversity costs DJs, Myer: Harvey, by Eli Greenblat.

Retail billionaire Gerry Harvey, founder and chairman of the Harvey Norman chain, has ­blasted some of the custodians of the nation’s $2.8 trillion super­annuation industry for their ­obsession with gender-diversity guidelines and “tick-a-box” mentality to corporate governance.

Mr Harvey said he was frustrated by super fund executives and their boards, so-called corporate governance experts and fellow travellers in the social corporate responsibility industry who were pressuring him to change his business practices, saying if he followed their ­guidelines Harvey Norman would “go backwards”.

Rival ­retailers such as Myer and David Jones had slavishly adhered to the corporate governance orders laid down by these groups, he said, but their businesses were now paying the price, with his own Harvey Norman “beating the shit out of them’’. He said the nation’s two big department stores had diversity in the boardroom, with female ­directors and independent ­directors, but in most cases they weren’t even retailers.

“Myer and David Jones get all of that box ticking right according to corporate governance rules,’’ Mr Harvey said, “and super funds buy shares in them as they tick all the boxes.”

When asked about the pressure coming from super funds and corporate governance ­activists, Mr Harvey told The Weekend Australian: “I’ve never spoken to anyone yet that runs a public company, that started the public company, that doesn’t agree with me. Now I haven’t got any ­problem with these people having a view, but I’ve got the right to have a view too, and my argument is they are wrong and they don’t know they are wrong. …

Those results were on display yesterday when Harvey Norman posted a 7.2 per cent increase in full-year net profit to $402.32 million at a time when most retailers are struggling to grow profits. David Jones on Thursday revealed its operating profit had almost halved to $37m. …

Harvey Norman is currently valued at more than $5.1bn, which is almost four times the combined value of Myer and David Jones.

Get woke, grow broke. Following the left’s fantasies instead of reality only succeeds in winning the approval of leftist commissars.