Boards seek power to sack directors

Some of Australia's largest listed companies – including Coca-Cola Amatil, National Australia Bank, BHP Billiton and Wesfarmers – are considering introducing individual contracts with directors so they don't need shareholder approval to sack them.

The move is likely to be resisted by shareholder groups and big institutional investors, which fear the moves could stifle shareholder rights and dissent by minority directors. The Corporations Act stipulates that shareholders have the right to remove directors or confirm their appointments.

The individual agreements with directors typically state that the director agrees to resign from the board voluntarily if s/he is presented with a no-confidence motion by the other directors.