For a number of South African companies, even the Covid cloud has a silver lining. It’s not just the fortunate executives who scored when their share options were issued at the bargain-basement prices prevailing early in the pandemic, it’s all the boards that have used the Covid-created excuse to abandon in-person AGMs.

It’s difficult to overstate the importance of in-person AGMs. Being less susceptible to corporate choreography, they represent an opportunity for shareholders to see how their overpaid executives perform under a little pressure. It is the only event of the year when the board has to engage with a group of people over whom it holds no sway, and do so in public...

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