CSL 2010 AGM gender diversity transcript

October 14, 2010

Stephen Mayne: I, like most shareholders, are very pleased with the overall financial performance of CSL over a very long period of time. It is very rare for Australia to have any international success in the healthcare pharmaceutical space, and CSL is the standout performer. From a financial point of view, it has been a magnificent performance over a long period of time.

The only issue that I would like to raise today, actually goes to gender diversity within the company. This company is very unusual in having a female chair,
but I think madam chair, ever since you have been on the board, you have been the only female on the board. It is an unusual situation to have a female chair and no other females on the board.

I know there has a been a number of studies done internationally which have shown that diversity delivers better results. If you look at the executive team at CSL, again, you only have 1 female amongst you top ten, I know that she is the worst paid of the top ten executives.

There is a big push on at the moment through the ASX and AICD, and a range of groups, to lift Australia's pathetically low level of gender diversity at senior executive and board levels, and I would like to hear from you about your views on that, and whether you could actually re-double your efforts in this area.

You have been in the chair for 5 or 6 years, and we haven't really seen any movement at all. I'd like to hear from Bryan the CEO as well, to see if this is a feature of the industry in particular, like all the miners and engineers say that.

I would have thought the company that produced gartersor and things like that, has a very big interest in the diversity questions, and I am just a little perplexed that this company, of all companies, seems to rate so poorly on this score, say for the very obvious exception with you chair, you are one of the rare female chairs in Australia.

So I would be interested in your comments, and I will be looking forward to seeing some movement on this issue at board level, and ideally at executive level, before next year's annual meeting.

Chair: Thank you for those comments Stephen, and I am glad you are happy with the company in a financial sense.

In relation to gender diversity, I spent a considerably portion of my address addressing that, because we have received a number of letters on that issue.

What I would like to say to you is that the board has been stable over quite some time, but the board takes a lot of time and effort when it is looking at board composition to determine what skill base we need - whether that be business, or engineering or manufacturing or finance, or whatever it might be.

Also the geographical diversity - people that worked. You'll notice we've got a couple of directors who have had very significant experience in th US market, and that is clearly a very important thing for us because most of our sales are there.

So in selecting directors, we've always been very careful to understand what skill base we need. Another example of that was when we were spending increased money in R&D, we realised that at a board level, we did not have the expertise to provide the board with guidance on that area. So what did we do?

We employed some people who drew up a list for us of people best able help us in that area, and on that list John Sharp who was clearly head and shoulders above the rest on the list, if I can say so, and so John, you were our selection to help us. So that is where we have always come from saying 'What do we need that will help us to progress?', we have been very careful in that.

Having said that Stephen, we have never excluded women from that list, and women have been included, but we have always carefully looked at it to see who can best serve the need we have at the time.

We hear societal concerns about women on boards, and we of course will take that on board, and our process will continue to have women on our selections when we need additional directors.

But I would like to correct you Stephen and I'm sure Bryan is itching to, is in relation at a management level. What I said was 60% of our senior management in Australia are women, 35% worldwide, and at the most senior level of the 25 highest executives in the company, 5 of those are women.

The person who looks after worldwide quality control; worldwide supply; worldwide manufacturing operations, they are all women in very technical areas, and of course, our person who is in charge of HR is a women as well.

That's not say we don't want to do better, but I think the reason we have so many women working for us is, and I can certainly speak to this from my position, is that the condition of the company, the atmosphere of the company is conversive - women want to work there, because they feel valued and wanted, and that is the most important thing.

I think getting more women in the executive ranks, CSL has all sorts of policy on parental leave, on flexible hours, job sharing, buying additional leave - that's what you want. There is a childcare facility going up at Broadmeadows. All of those things encourage women to work for us, and in my view, will be the feeder in going forward of having more women on boards.