HELD ON THURSDAY, 7 APRIL 2022 AT 10:00AM
Good morning fellow securityholders and guests.
On behalf of the Board of Scentre Group, I welcome you and thank you for participating in today’s AGM.
The Group has remained focused on Our Purpose throughout another COVID-19 interrupted year.
Operating profit and distribution have increased this year and I want to thank our team for delivering these results, even with more COVID-19 restrictions than 2020.
This demonstrates our proactive approach to generating long-term value for our securityholders.
Our CEO Peter Allen will address our operating and financial performance shortly.
The past year has reinforced how essential our Westfield Living Centres are to people and communities.
We are very proud of our team, particularly how they kept adapting to the changing conditions, keeping our centres open and safe.
Since Scentre Group was established in 2014, we have focused on our people and creating a strong operational culture where talent can thrive.
As part of this, we are committed to fostering an inclusive workplace where diversity of perspectives and “speaking up” is highly valued. Despite this COVID interrupted year, the Group maintained its focus on measuring our employee engagement, which has remained very high at 85%. This places us in the top 5% of companies globally.
We have continued to increase female representation at all levels of the organisation and are well positioned to achieve our goal of 40:40:20 across the Group’s workplace by 2025. We retained 94% of our key talent in 2021, against a target of 90%. This was pleasing given the competitive labour market conditions we are facing.
Our people and culture are a very significant part of our approach to being a responsible, sustainable business, along with our community, environmental and economic performance.
In mid-March, we released our 2021 Responsible Business Report detailing the progress we have made across the four pillars just mentioned. We also released our second Modern Slavery Statement. The Board maintains oversight of the Group’s climate risk and resilience strategy.
It is pleasing to report that we have already reduced our emissions by 30% since the Group was established in 2014. This stands us in good stead to achieve our net zero emissions target by 2030 across our wholly-owned portfolio.
I commend our team’s continued focus on further integrating responsible business objectives into our business.
We have done a lot of work in addressing last year’s vote against our 2020 Remuneration Report. In recent months, we have met with major securityholders and proxy advisers. We appreciate their preparedness to meet with us – some multiple times.
We have listened and made adjustments, in particular, to the measurement criteria and outcomes under the short-term variable remuneration and long-term variable remuneration plans.
Based on these recent discussions we are pleased to have received securityholder and proxy adviser support for this year’s Remuneration Report.
Andrew Harmos, our Chair of the Human Resources Committee is with us today. I would like to thank Andrew for his absolute focus and commitment.
Each year the Board, with the assistance of the Nomination Committee, completes a review of its performance. The outcome of this year’s review was very positive and has informed the overall work of the Board and committees.
It has been a significant year for succession planning for the Board and management.
We are committed to continuing to ensure that we appoint directors with an appropriate mix of skills, knowledge, experience and diversity.
Recently the focus has been on addressing succession in leadership of Board committees as well as the Board’s overall gender balance. Currently 40% of Board members are female.
During the year we were very pleased to welcome Ilana Atlas to the Board. Catherine Brenner joined the Board on 1 March 2022. Both Ilana and Catherine stand for election today with the full support of the Board.
Mike Ihlein and I are offering ourselves for re-election with the full support of our fellow Directors. Steven Leigh has announced his retirement from the Board and on behalf of the Directors I extend my thanks to him for his valuable contribution to Scentre Group and respect his decision to focus on other aspects of his non-executive career. We wish Steve well in his future endeavours.
The Board has continually been focused on succession planning at a management level.
After a comprehensive global search we were delighted to announce our Chief Financial Officer Elliott Rusanow as Peter Allen’s successor. This follows Peter’s decision to step down as CEO on 30 September this year after eight years as our inaugural CEO.
I will make further remarks later in the meeting to acknowledge Peter’s extraordinary contribution to our business given this will be his last AGM with us as CEO.
On behalf of your Board, we remain confident about the underlying strength of the consumer and the economic recovery across Australia and New Zealand.
Our business is well positioned to fulfil Our Ambition to grow, supporting our customers and continuing to deliver long-term growth for our securityholders.
I thank my fellow Directors and the Scentre Group team for their valuable contribution and support in what has been a challenging year.
Thank you for your continued support of Scentre Group. I would now like to introduce our CEO Peter Allen to deliver his address.