Gary Weiss cements power at Cromwell as new chair

Gary Weiss cements power at Cromwell as new chair

Corporate raider and newly appointed Cromwell chair Dr Gary Weiss.

Corporate raider Dr Gary Weiss has been unanimously voted as chair at Brisbane-based Cromwell Property Group (ASX: CMW), consolidating influence for his investment vehicle ARA Property Group which overhauled the company's leadership late last year. 

ARA Property Group conducted a proportional takeover of Cromwell whereby a minority shareholding was leveraged with support from other shareholders the Tang family to force a board spill, ultimately prompting the resignation of long-time CEO Paul Weightman.

Even though ARA and the Tangs did not have a majority share in the company with a 46 per cent stake, their influence was enough to change Cromwell's course given many shareholders don't bother to vote on resolutions. 

Weiss will now replace Jane Tongs, who assumed the non-executive chairmanship after last year's board spill that kicked out then chair Leon Blitz. Prior to that she had been a director of the company since 2014.

"I wish the board, management and staff of Cromwell every success," Tongs said.

"The board renewal process has proceeded quickly and the key remaining item on the to-do list, the appointment of a permanent CEO, is in the hands of the Cromwell board."

Weiss will be joined by recently appointed senior independent director Ooi Eng Peng as deputy chair.

"I would like to assure securityholders that the Cromwell Board is focused on maximising the many exciting opportunities that we see before us," Weiss said.

"As chair, I am committed to working collaboratively and constructively with my fellow Cromwell Directors to ensure those opportunities including working with capital partners across Asia Pacific and Europe are realised.

"On behalf of all Cromwell securityholders, I would like to thank Ms Tongs for her contribution to the Cromwell board since 2014 and welcome Mr Ooi as deputy chair and senior independent director."

Tongs will remain a director of Cromwell Funds Management Limited, which is the responsible entity of a number of registered managed investment schemes.

A final director's interest notice shows that through her superannuation, Tongs Corporation and wealth management platform Netwealth - where until recently she was also chair - Tongs still has more than $321,000 in CMW shares at the current market price.

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