Abano Healthcare shareholder Peter Hutson and his wife Anya have been fired as executives of their joint venture audiology business Bay International.
In a statement to the NZX this morning, Abano said it had terminated their employment after an Employment Relations Authority (ERA) decision on Friday ruled it had the right to do so.
Abano said the authority had noted that in regard to the Hutsons' conflicts of interests arising from the takeover bid in which they were involved last year, Alan Clarke and Richard Keys had suggested, "protocols be put in place to manage the conflicts". This was rejected by the Hutsons.
The ERA noted that to not have the right claimed by Abano "flouts business commonsense and would produce a commercially absurd outcome".
The termination does not affect the Hutsons' 50 per cent shareholding in the Bay joint venture nor their representation on its board.
Bay chairman Alan Clarke, managing director of Abano, said that after a disappointing start to the audiology venture, several changes were made to local senior management teams in both Australia and Asia.
"The new executive team in Australia has made a material difference and we are seeing a significant improvement, with solid sales growth over the past two years," he said.
"This has provided us with confidence that the business is now on track to achieve break even [in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation], and to then provide a positive profit contribution to the Abano Group."