Posts Tagged 'Australia'

From boardroom to boss – the rising tide of directors becoming CEO

by Simon Evans for Financial Review

A growing number of non-executive directors sitting inside Australia’s corporate boardrooms are being tapped to run the entire operations as a chief executive. Sometimes it’s out of necessity because of a sudden event, and sometimes it’s because boards want someone who “knows where the bodies are buried”.

Having a broad knowledge of the inner workings of a company through sitting around the boardroom table seems to count more and more. And corporate governance experts say the pressures on companies to deliver strong returns quickly means the six-month time frame it can take for an extended global search for the right person can be a deterrent to recruiting a complete outsider.

But does poring through monthly board reports and overseeing broad strategy around a boardroom table equip a director to actually run the company?

Explosives group Orica, theme park and fitness centre operator Ardent Leisure, copper and gold group Rex Minerals and insurer Suncorp have in the past six weeks hired chief executives from their boardrooms, joining pastoral company Elders Australia which installed Mark Allison into the chief executive role in April, 2014, swapping his previous duties as chairman. Read more here.

Women stall on reaching corporate Australia’s highest rungs

by Alana Schetzer for The Sydney Morning Herald

Harvey Norman’s Gerry Harvey is known for being outspoken – whether sharing his views on the evils of online retailing, restrictive workplace laws or corporate governance types who frown on his role as executive chairman of the retailer.

And he’s no less blunt when it comes to the issue of gender equality in corporate Australia – and the chances of it ever being realised.

“We’ve got a campaign here to get 50 per cent women and we’re not achieving it,” he says. “We’re well short.”

Women make up 42 per cent of the retailer’s workforce but just 26per cent of senior executives – although that figure does include a rare female chief executive, KatiePage. Read more here.

Karoon chairman Bob Hosking confident

by Matt Chambers for The Australian

KAROON Gas Australia founder and executive chairman Bob Hosking says he is confident his board will prevail in the face of a campaign by activist shareholder Pegasus CP One to install new directors and change the big explorer’s strategy.

And the Karoon founder, who is getting close to appointing an independent chairman for the company he floated in 2004, said he planned to be managing director for only the next two or three years before taking on more of a mentor role. “We’re confident that we will have a positive outcome (at the AGM),” Mr Hosking said yesterday. Read more here.

Corporate expert favours region-specific solutions

J.Venkatesan, May 17th 2013, The Hindu

“U.S., European models don’t sufficiently adjust for market circumstances in India or Australia”

Countries around the world face common challenges in getting their corporate regulation frameworks right, balancing the objectives of fairness and efficiency, and in this, there is a lot that India and Australia can learn from each other, according to Australian legal expert Robert Austin.

A former Justice of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, distinguished academic, and leader in corporate law reform, Dr. Austin is on a visit to India to discuss ways in which the two countries could cooperate, share information and build stronger institutional linkages in corporate affairs.

In an interaction with The Hindu on Tuesday, Dr. Austin called for region-specific solutions to corporate governance issues. “The U.S. and European models don’t sufficiently adjust for market circumstances in India or Australia, or most other economies in the Asian region. It is time for us to share and adapt the best of each other’s regulatory experience so as to build on the Asian region’s existing economic success. Good regulation creates value.”Continue reading…

Comparing CEO Employment Contract Provisions

by R. Christopher Small for The Harvard Law School Forum, November 17th, 2010.

In our paper, Comparing CEO Employment Contract Provisions: Differences between Australia and the U.S., forthcoming in the Vanderbilt Law Review, we compare and contrast CEO employment contracts across two very different common law countries.

In the wake of the global financial crisis, executive compensation is front page news, with soaring rhetoric about excessive pay to ungrateful bank employees and personal attacks on CEOs and other executives. Frequently missing from the discussion, however, are basic facts surrounding the terms and conditions of the executives’ relationships with their firms. While several recent studies in the United States have begun to fill in some of the details surrounding American executive employment contracts, or the lack thereof, none have fully captured the U.S. experience, particularly from a legal perspective. Likewise, none of these studies even touch on Australian CEOs’ contractual employment relationships.

Our empirical study is designed to fill this gap. Our study also provides an additional perspective on the optimal contracting and managerial power models of executive pay in U.S. academic literature. Even if one accepts that a particular model has greater explanatory power in the U.S. context, this will not necessarily be the case in another jurisdiction, such as Australia. The United States and Australia, while enjoying many comparable regulatory features, display interesting differences in terms of capital market and regulatory structures. For example, capital markets in Australia differ markedly from the classic U.S. dispersed model of share ownership. (continue reading… )

20 Steps to Better Corporate Governance (Australia)

by Risk Magazine, April 22, 2010

The Corporate Secretaries International Association recently released a research report recommending 20 practical steps for Boards to improve their companies’ corporate governance

Corporate governance is undergoing much questioning given the serious governance failings that contributed to and sustained the global financial crisis. As such, the Corporate Secretaries International Association, an international organisation whose members comprise national bodies of professionals at the frontline of governance, including Chartered Secretaries Australia, recently commissioned and released a report providing Board Directors with 20 practical steps for improving their companies’ governance.

“One of the biggest lessons to come out of the global financial crisis is that education and a zero tolerance of wrongdoing at Board level is far more effective than regulation in curbing corporate misconduct,” said Chartered Secretaries Australia chief executive Tim Sheehy.

The report, written by Professor Bob Tricker, a world- renowned corporate governance expert with professorships at three universities, listed the 20 practical steps for improving corporate governance as:…(continue reading)

NZ joins global corporate governance association

by Robert Smith, for The National Business Review, March 29, 2010.

New Zealand’s affiliation with a new global corporate secretaries group will give the country a say in the establishment of international best practice corporate governance.

The Geneva-based Corporate Secretaries International Association (CSIA) was launched late last week and represents more than 70,000 governance professionals in more than 70 countries.

The organisation is designed to provide a global focus on improving corporate governance practices, linking professionals with worldwide organisations such as the WTO, World Bank and the UN.

While corporate secretary associations and institutes from countries such as Australia, Hong Kong, India and UK have signed on as full CSIA members, New Zealand’s professional body has joined as an affiliate member alongside Canada and the US.

Chartered Secretaries New Zealand president Dev Oza told NBR the local division of the international Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators had been working well since it opened in 1937, but joining as an affiliate with the new organisation gave it a wider scope to determine local best practise…(continue reading)

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