The busiest Australian directors at a point in time

October 22, 2019

This list looks at Australia's busiest directors at a point in time in their careers.

Helen Coonan, 2019: was already busy and then took on 3 new chairing gigs in 2019 at the Minerals Councils, AFCA and HGL, to now be chairing 7 bodies and sitting on six other organisations. The full ridiculous workload is spelt out on p5 of the notice of meeting for the Crown Resorts AGM where she is seeking re-election. At the moment she is also:

# Chair, Minerals Council of Australia
# Chair, Australian Financial Complaints Authority
# Chair, HGL (listed company)
# Chair, Place Management NSW (Formerly Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority)
# Chair, Supervised Investments Australia
# Chair advisory board of Allegris Partners (head hunters)
# Co-chair GRA-Cosway
# Director, Crown Resorts
# Director, Snowy Hydro
# Director of Obesity Australia
# member, JP Morgan advisory council
# Director, Australian Children's Television Foundation
# Member, Commercial Advisory Council, Australia-Israel Chamber
# Member, Corporate Council, European Australian Business Council

David Crawford, 2005: the situation was summed up in this Crikey piece. In summary, he had these four takeover situations on the go at once:

  • Chairman of National Foods – under takeover offer from San Miguel and Fonterra
  • Director of Foster's – offer on the table for Southcorp
  • Director of BHP – making a bid for WMC.
  • Chairman of Lend Lease – trying to bid for GPT.
Roger Davis, 2018: extract from The Mayne Report for Alan Kohler:

Former Wallaby and veteran banker Roger Davis was announced as the new chairman of property group Charter Hall REIT last week, in addition to his important role chairing Bank of Queensland. However, throw in seats on the Ardent Leisure and Argo boards, plus an ongoing role as a consulting director at Rothschild and it is hard to see how there would be a enough hours in the day to perform all those roles.

David Gonski,

Nick Greiner, 1990s: after leaving politics, Nick Greiner when through a period in the 1990s when his workload was patently ridiculous. It was covered in this interview with The AICD in 2003 where he made the following comment:

"About seven or eight years ago a Sydney newspaper purported to have searched ASIC records and concluded that I sat on 37 boards. The truth was that 12 of them were subsidiaries of QBE, five of them were subsidiaries of McGuigan wines and some were my father's companies or my family companies. I was on seven public company boards and the chairman of two of them and I think arguably that was too many."

Gary Hounsell, 2012: used to be the most over-committed director in Australia after he joined the Treasury Wine Estates board in 2012 and the company laid out all his commitments as follows: "Mr Hounsell, who will succeed Paul Rayner as Chair of the TWE's Audit and Risk Committee, is an Australian resident and currently Chairman of PanAust Limited; he also holds directorships with Qantas, Orica, Dulux Group, Ingeus Limited and Nufarm. Mr Hounsell is also Chairman of Investec Ltd's Global Aircraft Fund, a non-executive director of law firm Freehills and on the Advisory Council of Rothschild Australia."

Margaret Leung, 2014: shareholders finally challenged over-boarding when the new QBE suffered a 32% protest vote even after QBE put out this spirited defence of her workload challenges, which were clearly ridiculous as she sat on 5 boards whilst also holding down a full time banking job. She bailed from QBE 3 years later rather than running the gauntlet of another protest vote.

Stan Wallis, 2002: As this piece in The Age explains, Wallis was briefly the chair of AMP, Amcor and Coles Myer at the same time, which was far too much. The total package was 5 ASX listed board with 4 as chair.