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AAP

2013-01-29

The chief executive of Australia's peak shareholder body has resigned, saying the organisation does not have the resources to expand its work calling listed companies to account on complex issues such as governance.

The Australian Shareholders' Association (ASA) announced on Tuesday that Vas Kolesnikoff, had tendered his resignation and that it will restructure to eliminate the CEO role.

Mr Kolesnikoff told AAP he was leaving the ASA because the organisation did not have the funding and resources needed to carry out its stated goals.

"Everything that the ASA was doing, there were just not enough resources to cover," Mr Kolesnikoff said.

"There are just insufficient staff to do the job and there's just no support."

Mr Kolesnikoff said the decision to leave was amicable and agreed on with the ASA board after several months of discussion.

"There are a lot of challenges here and I really want to add more value somewhere else," he said.

Under Mr Kolesnikoff, who was CEO for more than two years, the ASA had lifted its media profile and increased publication of voting intentions for annual general meetings.

However Mr Kolesnikoff said he wanted to develop its research and reporting capabilities to increase its monitoring abilities and, to do that, the member-based organisation need to be run more like a business.

"We just can't do enough," he said.

"The ASA doesn't get government funding - it doesn't get any funding other than membership fees."

Mr Kolesnikoff said the ASA had between 6,000 and 7,000 members and had only recently begun to turn around a membership decline.

He said the ASA board wanted to shrink the organisation's operations while he had wanted to grow it.

ASA chairman Ian Curry said there had been a mutual agreement that the board and the CEO had different views on the future direction of the organisation.

"Vas has done a good job on the public profile," Mr Curry said.

"We felt we wanted to put more emphasis on the membership base, IT development and delivery of services."

Mr Curry said there would be no change in the role performed by the ASA.

The ASA will replace the CEO role with two positions: a national operations manager and a research and development Manager.

Mr Curry also said the ASA will seek government funding "because we are the only independent organisation that represents small shareholders".

No departure date has been set for Mr Kolesnikoff, who said he may seek a role with a regulatory body or proxy advisory firm.

Peter Trute, AAP Senior Finance Writer