After 30 or more years of comparatively vibrant AGMs it looked as though some corporate boards were pushing back, wanting a return to the old days when shareholders could be kept in their place.

Some surprising heavyweights, who you’d think should know better, latched on to the opportunity provided by Covid to provide virtual-only AGMs in an attempt to reclaim the former dominance enjoyed by boards at these meetings. Sasol, which had commendably provided hybrid AGM facilities as soon as possible after lockdown, decided to revert to the virtual-only option after it bungled its unruly November 2023 AGM. What a relief it must have been for Sasol’s board to be able to control their shareholders so effectively from a distance in January...

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