In normal times, putting Ned Goodman on the Barrick Gold Corp. board would not stand out. He's a supporter of the company, a shareholder, a charter member of the Toronto gold bug crowd, and a backer of co-chairman John Thornton's pay package.
Those, and more, are all reasons that putting Mr. Goodman on the Barrick board now is curious. Barrick is under fire for having a board that is too cozy and some shareholders were very upset that the board allowed Mr. Thornton's pay to go through (the proof is in a sound defeat for the company on a say on pay vote this past spring.) So when Mr. Goodman says Mr. Thornton "got paid what he deserves" that's going to rankle some of the shareholder base that he is now charged with representing.
The other thing that jumps out is that Mr. Goodman's Dundee group of companies don't tend to rank well in the Globe and Mail's governance report cards. Search the Board Games 2013 rankings for Dundee and you'll find the companies that show up rank in the bottom half of the tables.
There are arguments for Mr. Goodman starting with the facts that he knows gold and he is a shareholder. He believes the company is undervalued.
But he is not going to be an uncontroversial choice when some shareholders were seeking a board revamp.
(A note on disclosure: the author is a shareholder of Dundee Real Estate Investment Trust.)