Directors

The busiest Australian directors at a point in time


February 14, 2022

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

BUSIEST DIRECTORS RIGHT NOW

Hamish McClennan, 2022: chair of Rugby Australia, HT&E, REA Group and Magellan Financial Group at the same time. Everything was fine until he stepped up as chair of Rugby Australia in June 2020 and then it got ridiculous when he was named as the independent chair of Magellan in February 2022.

Marina Go, 2021: chair of Adore Beauty since 2021 and also joined the Transurban board in 2021. Vowed to reduce her workload at the 2021 Adore AGM given she was also a director of Energy Australia (since 2017), 7-Eleven (since 2018), Autosports Group (since 2016) and Booktopia Group Limited (since 2020). She was also Chair of Netball Australia (since 2021), and a member of the UNSW Business Advisory Council and the ANU Centre for Asian-Australian Leadership Advisory Board.

Warwick Negus, 2021: see this piece in The Australian. The former head of Goldman Sachs and Colonial First State joined the Dexus board in January 2021. He also chairs Pengana Capital Group and is a director of Bank of Queensland and Soul Patts. Throw in board seats at the privately owned Virgin Australia, investment outfit Terrace Tower Group and Tantallon Capital Advisors and you have a ridiculous example of over-boarding.

Helen Coonan, 2019: was already busy and then took on 3 new chairing gigs in 2019 at the Minerals Councils, AFCA and HGL, to then be simultaneously chairing 7 bodies and sitting on six other boards or advisory committees. The full ridiculous workload was spelt out on p5 of the notice of meeting for the 2019 Crown Resorts AGM where she was re-elected.

At that time, she was 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, Obesity Australia
# member, JP Morgan advisory council
# Director, Australian Children's Television Foundation
# Member, Commercial Advisory Council, Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce
# 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 the same time:

  • 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, 2012-13: told the 2013 ASA conference that doing Julia Gillard's education revolution was the hardest and biggest job he had ever taken on. Well, how on earth did he continue to simultaneously hold down all the roles laid out on page 8 of the 2012 Coca Cola Amatil annual report. This included chairing ASX, Coca Cola Amatil, Sydney Theatre Company, the Future Fund and the University of NSW.

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.