Sir Ron Brierley has survived a New Zealand Shareholders Association campaign to oust him from the board of the company he founded - Guinness Peat Group (GPG) - but only by a narrow margin.
Brierley, up for re-election at today's annual meeting, retained his seat on the board by attracting just 50.75 per cent of the votes.
Association chairman John Hawkins has led a campaign to vote Brierley - a former chairman of the investment company - off the board because of the company's dismal performance over the years.
Brierley said he was pleased to be re-elected.
"I knew it was close but I have been involved in the corporate world for more than 50 years and a genuine close vote is very rare," he said.
Brierley said the vote did not affect his wish to do his best for the company.
Hawkins said it was disappointing that shareholders had not made a clean break from the past.
"But that is democracy in action and I respect that," he said.