Wednesday, August 24, 2011

"Diversity" Outrage: Time for Mark Weldon to step down from the NZX

Mark Weldon started as CEO of the New Zealand Stock Exchange in the early part of the last decade and his main aim was to revitalise a flagging stockmarket and entice more investors into buying into NZX listed stocks. An aim that no stockmarket watcher would disagree with.

He has failed on those two counts alone with the stockmarket capitalisation less than it was 10 years ago and less Kiwis invested in the local bourse. Add to that a vacant IPO position over the last 2 years and regulatory problems related to dissemination of information to the market as a whole, rather than selected few, insiders trading on tips from mates and conflicts of interest of the NZX overseeing a market they participate in themselves and you have yourself what anyone would call a failure.

What might Mr Weldon be doing to correct these measures?

Work on some of the above? Quit and admit he has failed?


Instead Mark has decided that the answer to the problems the NZX has is to focus on "diversity" on NZX listed companies by making it mandatory that companies hire on the basis of race and sex before the professional and personal qualities of the candidate are assessed, to increase the level of women and "ethnic minorities" in the boardroom.

Weldon is proposing that boards demand direct reporting of "diversity" numbers; and it goes beyond gender to include "diversity" generally, which includes "ethnic diversity".

“We’re a very skinny economy, four and a half million people. If we systematically exclude, or don’t create good pathways or accessible opportunities for large parts of the population, whether women or immigrants, then we are both unduly limiting the size of the talent pool and we are unduly putting a handbrake on growth in a globalised economy, where diversity of views, and experience is really valuable,” Listener, August 22, 2011

He bases his idea on similar "diversity" mandates that are voluntary in Australia and were introduced last year.

Regular readers of mine will know that this sort of nonsense just doesn't work for me. NZX listed companies have a devil of a time attracting quality candidates at present and you only have to look at the poor management of a number of NZX listed companies to see what I am saying has merit.

Mark Weldon's "diversity" ideal is not the answer to attracting quality people to the boardroom. In fact it will actually make things alot worse than it is at present. Putting the racial background and sex of the candidate before the experience, personal attributes and professional qualifications of the individual is a clear recipe for disaster. Not only is it racism and sexism at its grubby worst, it is also a race to the bottom in terms of quality as candidates for positions are hired not because they are the best person for the job but because they have to fill some nut-bag socialist quota.

One only has to deal with a couple of Government departments to find out how Mark's idea of a"diversity" quota has dismally failed - basic English seems to be foreign to many hired under "diversity" schemes operating in various Government departments.

Mark really needs to reassess his position as head of the New Zealand Stock Exchange. He has failed to fire the NZX in his near 10 years as CEO and the "diversity"* idea of his really should be a full-stop on his career.

Staying where he is is an insult to those that work for him, directors on boards of NZX companies that he wants to gerrymander, investors in NZX companies like myself, and the country as a whole.

Avert your eyes now readers...

Bugger off Mark.

* I apologise for the quote marks but this is a word that has lost its real meaning and I cannot use it with any truth of mind in my writing when it doesn't actually mean what it is supposed to.

Mark Weldon @ Share Investor

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c Share Investor 2011