Angry shareholders yesterday ousted the chairman of the board of a major traffic camera company and two of his closest allies. Redflex Chairman Chris Cooper and Directors Peter Lewinsky and Roger Sawley resigned to avoid an embarrassing vote after learning that a majority of shareholder proxies expressed no confidence in their continued leadership. The internal revolt followed closely upon the revolt of Ohio voters in the cities of Chillicothe and Heath.
Cooper and his wife will retain influence on Redflex as major shareholders in the company, a point the former chairman made while delivering a farewell address to meeting attendees.
“Without doubt, Redflex’s primary basis is as a business entity,” Cooper said. “Its activities are focused on generating a profitable bottom line for the company’s owners — its shareholders…. I intend personally to maintain a significant financial investment in the company and maintain my support for the company.”
Despite the ongoing recession, Redflex boasted of a 48 percent increase in revenue for the Australian company. As 87 percent of the company’s revenue stream derives from motorists in the United States, trouble with American ticketing programs can put the future of Redflex growth on the line. The company explained that the US public is increasingly not paying citations issued by the private Australian company.
“Collection rates in the US business remain an issue and this is a particular focus for the company,” CEO Graham Davie said.”[There has been] a reduction in collection rates in a number of jurisdictions, and particularly in the state of Arizona.”
Management of the Arizona program, which Davie said caused a loss of cash due to “allocation of poor quality deployments for the mobile speed vans” served as a catalyst for the shareholder action.
“Hunter Hall has concluded that, so far, the ‘Arizona statewide’ program has been an expensive failure,” revolt leader Jack Lowenstein wrote on behalf of his firm.
Later today, the top Redflex lobbyist, Jay Heiler, will defend the Arizona photo radar program in a debate with the grassroots group CameraFraud.com at a meeting of the Tempe Chamber of Commerce.