Finance

Hills chief Ted Pretty in sudden exit; Shorten tells ACTU Congress he believes in the “fair distribution of national income”: Midday Roundup

Eloise Keating /

Ted Pretty has made a shock exit as chief executive from Hills, the former clothesline maker he has been transforming into a technology company.

In a statement to shareholders this morning, Hills said it has reached an agreement with Pretty that he will leave the company and chief operating officer Grant Logan will take over as chief executive, effective immediately.

Hills chair Jennifer Hill-Ling said in the statement the agreement was reached after a strategic review.

“The board has recently reviewed and refined the company’s strategy and committed to consolidating its existing businesses and growing, both organically and by acquisition, within Australia and New Zealand,” Hill-Ling said.

“After discussing the refined strategy with Ted we have agreed that this is the time for a change in executive leadership.”

“Ted leaves the company with a strong balance sheet, a simplified business model and thanks of the board.”

Logan joined Hills four years ago as chief financial officer and took on the role of chief operating officer in February. Hills said his appointment will be for an initial term of 12 months and details about his remuneration will be released to the market soon.

Shorten tells ACTU Congress he believes in the “fair distribution of national income”

Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has made fairness a key theme of his speech to trade union delegates at the Australian Council of Trade Unions Congress in Melbourne, while claiming the most recent federal budget relies on the “stealthy invisible hand of inflation” through bracket creep.

According to The Australian, Shorten also used the speech to attack the government’s plans to deregulate coastal shipping rules, cuts to family payments, changes to the paid parental leave schemes, and plans the attempt to introduce a GP co-payment.

“The Liberal Party think that fairness is some sort of domain name you can register on the internet. Fairness is at the heart of our view of the future,” Shorten said.

“[Tony Abbott] is most comfortable when he campaigns against something. He is most comfortable making Australians fearful about the future and fearful of each other.”

Shorten also said he supports women having the right to claim workplace support for domestic violence, without explicitly backing the ACTU’s campaign for up to 10-days per year of domestic violence leave.

Shares down on open

Aussie stocks traded lower this morning as tensions mounted once again over Greece.

Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets, said in a statement the stock market is in for a negative opening session as traders follow a weak international lead and adopt a more defensive stance as risks mount in the Greek debt negotiations.

“Australian bond yields are also lower in early morning trade. This creates the possibility that domestic, non-bank yield stocks such as the major supermarkets and Telstra could fare relatively well in today’s market as traders focus on yield stocks that might be relatively unaffected if the situation in Greece was to lead to heightened concerns about global financial markets,” Spooner said.

“US Dollar strength is a dominant theme for markets at the moment. Last night’s economic data lent weight to the Fed’s view that the economy is improving after the winter slump. New home sales and house prices are benefitting from an improving job market; low interest rates and modest inventory levels. Markets were also encouraged by the pickup in machinery orders revealed by last month’s durable goods orders statistics.”

The S&P/ASX 200 benchmark was down 54 points to 5719.4 points at 12.25pm AEST. The Dow Jones closed 190.48 points lower on Tuesday, down 1.04% to 18041.5 points.

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Eloise Keating

Eloise Keating is the editor of SmartCompany. Previously, Eloise was news editor at Books+Publishing, the trade press for the Australian book industry.

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