Savage’s biggest headaches at David Jones

After his last shareholder meeting as chairman of David Jones, Bob Savage opened up on some of the more controversial issues that dogged his near-decade long run in the job.

Top of the list, of course, was the sexual harassment scandal that lead to the departure of David Jones chief executive Mark McInnes.

‘‘That was a very difficult time for the company, it put everybody in the organisation under stress, people on the shop floor wanted to talk to me about it, customers wanted to talk about it, (and) shareholders,’’ he said.

‘‘I think we did the right things, the only regret I would have is that it was not able to be handled outside of the public arena, but that wasn’t our choice,’’ Mr Savage told reporters after the AGM.

He said the company has also been vindicated over its handling of a hoax bid earlier this year from EB Private Equity – a fantasy thought up by reclusive Brit, John Marshall Edgar.

‘‘I think we acted promptly I think we acted in accordance with the stock exchange rules and in accordance with the ASIC rules and I think that’s substantiated by the fact that ASIC has written to us saying they don’t propose to take any action against the company.’’

Mr Savage said the company was ‘‘highly sceptical’’ but had to make the assumption that there was a remote possibility ‘‘that there was somebody behind this guy who had a genuine offer’’.

He said the company was trying to get to a situation where it could make an informed decision when news of the bogus offer leaked to a blog ‘‘and in that situation everything changes’’.

Mr Savage said after more than 50 years in the work force he it was time to relax a bit and does not plan to take up any new positions on public boards after retiring from David Jones at the end of this year.

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