The big vision coupled with the resilience instilled in him growing up on a farm, we hear of Mick’s journey from hard hats and steel caps to leading an ASX 50 Company. Mick shares his views on authentic leadership, decision-making and setting the culture that are crucial to an organisation’s success.
In a candid conversation, Greg and Mick discuss energy infrastructure in Australia and compare it to the standards overseas, a high point of topic as all nations examine how gas supply will help stimulate an economic recovery. They delve into Mick’s motivations, the causes he is passionate about and the changes he looks forward to seeing in the country. Lastly, we hear of the mum test, which has proven to be a reliable tool Mick calls upon in helping him focus and bring things to perspective.
In this insightful conversation, John shares with us his unique perspective on the path to recovery as we deal with the economic and social consequences of the pandemic, the incoming shifts in global markets, particularly China and the United States, as well as Australia’s vital role in addressing key geopolitical matters. Greg and John discuss the importance of open and constructive debate, which in times has been marred by unhealthy, zealous political correctness.
John gives us a rare glimpse into the corridors of power, spanning from Canberra to Washington, D.C., where he had postings at the International Monetary Fund and the Australian Embassy, from London to the Middle East, in his roles with UBS Global Asset Management and UBS Saudi Arabia, and from Presidents to Prime Ministers.
Mehrdad is the author of New York Times bestseller As One, as well as international bestsellers The Alchemy of Growth and The Granularity of Growth. Mehrdad was previously an Executive Director of the CSIRO and worked at McKinsey and Company as a partner and co-leader of their worldwide Growth Practice.
Greg and Mehrdad discuss leadership during a crisis, the difficult decisions that have to be made and dealing with the delicate topic of trust, especially now as we are in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Mehrdad also brings to light the unique growth opportunity brought about by a crisis; by looking within and asking the tough questions, we can rise with renewed maturity from this collective wakeup call.
We hear about Mehrdad’s upbringing, and how his family moved from Iran to Canada to escape persecution. Drawing from his experiences, he had a keen interest in collective action, went on to study at Harvard University and worked with Nobel laureate Thomas Schelling. Mehrdad stresses the importance of messaging to inspire collective action, especially with the extraordinary circumstances we currently face.
Naomi talks us through beginnings of her business and brand, after biding her time in the corporate world, she started RedBalloon at home with a second hand computer and eventually became a household name and media personality. Last year, the Big Red Group delivered $850m worth of economic value to the community and looking forward, aims to serve an experience every second, somewhere on earth, by 2030.
Greg and Naomi discuss the changes we are going through, from the evolution of technology to new working arrangements. In these times, Naomi presents us with the challenge to greatness: how we, as one community, can rally and support one another to bounce back stronger than ever.
Michael was previously the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Insurance Australia Group Ltd and Chairman of Australian Rugby Union. He represented Australia in rugby union, wearing the green and gold 25 times as well as being Vice-Captain of the Wallabies.
In an engaging discussion, Michael takes us through his journey from being an elite athlete to the challenges he faced as CEO of one of Australia’s most respected organisations. He talks to us about the changing landscapes in global perspectives and the complexities and disruptions at play through the lens of an international Board Director.
Michael and Greg discuss leadership, particularly in a time of crisis and ambiguity, the conviction required in making the difficult decisions and stepping up when presented with the opportunity. Michael recalls the important moments in his career and why life is walking through a door.
Note: This podcast was recorded on 19th March 2020.
In a world where competition is ruthless, Tim brings to light the importance for leaders to make bold decisions to stay ahead of the pack, drawing on his international experience and intense customer-focused DNA. Tim talks about his journey, the early days as an ASX-listed company CEO, walking the walk and seizing opportunities in the once traditional commercial and residential building market that is now undergoing significant shifts.
Tim and Greg have a very open discussion about management theory versus reality and the need for leadership to communicate a clear and aligned purpose. Tim emphasises the importance of having the right people, the “game changers” on the bus, and how GWA’s cutting edge efforts in water solutions and sustainability are leading the world, so much so that they are saving the equivalent of Sydney Harbour’s volume of water each year.
Adrian gives us a rare insight into his Silicon Valley experience and how it all came together, sharing stories about the challenges of raising capital, bootstrapping a company to move forward, and the beginnings of tech giants and their founders who are now household names. We learn about the speed of decision making, the incredible spirit of entrepreneurship and the acceptance of failure as part of the journey. Greg and Adrian discuss his return to Australia armed with ideas, the desire to pay it forward and the tremendous success of Data61.
Adrian’s forward-thinking attitude has made him a pioneer in his industry, and in this discussion, we hear about his vision: his next venture and the new industries about to emerge. We also find out more about his role in the Minderoo Foundation to lead the development of a globally-relevant national blueprint for fire and disaster resilience, having fought the fires up close and how a crisis can be an opportunity in disguise.
Richard and Greg discuss the big issues facing business, government and all members of society. We learn about the art of leadership, being bold in placing the big bets and why Richard considers surviving as his greatest achievement. In this candid conversation, he shares with us his experiences from growing up in country Western Australia, taking the helm at Wesfarmers and building a world class team, to the challenges of disruption and complexity facing Directors in the Boardroom.
Richard talks about his long-term view on energy and his proud involvement with Qantas, the AFL and the Indigenous community. We also step back and hear of Richards drive across the Nullabor, his trips to the Kimberley, as he imparts advice to current and aspiring leaders and reminds us all not to lose sight of what is important in life.
Peter is also Chairman of Soldier On Australia, the Salvation Army Red Shield Appeal Committee in the Australian Capital Territory, The Australian Student Veterans Association and the Australian International Military Games which brought the Invictus Games to Australia in 2018. Peter is a Professor and the foundation Director of the National Security Institute at the University of Canberra and in 2007 was appointed Companion of the Order of Australia.
Peter encourages us, as Australians, to examine our current circumstances calling for a broad national debate on a number of key issues. He asks what values as a nation do we stand for, where we want to be in the long term, and what is our role as global citizens. He asks how is this reflected in our political and moral leadership and why are we void of coherent strategy and policy.
In this confronting discussion, Peter and Greg delve deeper into leadership and what it actually means. Peter details the challenges he faced in leading Australia’s brave men and women, especially in the political side of war and conflict and looks back to what he feels is one of his deepest regrets from his time in the top rank, sharing very personal stories on a career that has witnessed the grotesque and the great of mankind. Peter covers the parallels between the military and business and leaves us filled with enormous optimism and pride in our country.
Judith shares with us her unique story from the classroom to the boardroom. Starting as a high school maths teacher, she made the courageous decision to embark on a new journey and, as a thirty-five-year-old, found herself competing with fresh university graduates in the corporate world. Judith’s determination to succeed in a new sector and her rising through the ranks allowed her to play a crucial role in the pioneering of flexible working arrangements for both men and women in the workforce. She provides us with surprising insights about the transition and qualities one must have to be considered for and to be able to contribute to a Board. Judith encourages us to question the prevailing executive remuneration structure and presents her perspective on the meaning of diversity.
In a world of a heightened sense of social responsibility and conscious decision-making, Judith and Greg discuss the concept of clean money and how Bank Australia leads this movement. Judith explains how fintech developments and increasingly competitive rates are turning boutique banks into more attractive alternatives in a new era for banking. Furthermore, she talks about the potential of open banking, the constant threat of cyber-attacks on banks, and why cryptocurrency still has a long way to go.
Geoff, Chairman of the world’s leading metal recycler, addresses what is arguably the most important generational issue of our time. He presents the potential of hydrogen economies, the value of having more forward-thinking Boards and highlights the necessity to shift to more sustainable systems, especially with changing attitudes and growing amount of waste the world produces. He cites the policies implemented by leading nations to drive this change and also showcases what Sims Metal Management is doing to lead and participate in the transition into a world with lower carbon emissions.
As Chairman of a company with over two hundred facilities across twenty countries in five continents, Geoff shares with us his views on the role of the Board in the success of a business. From being passionate about the purpose of the company to having the right mentors, Geoff and Greg discuss the different facets of Directorship and the dangers of allowing negative behaviours to become entrenched and normalised in a company.
In this discussion, Geoff brings a perspective of optimism at a time when the world and its leaders are facing crucial decisions. He talks about the importance of being able to integrate new technologies into existing businesses, without leaving behind sectors of society that may be marginalised as an effect of this shift. Furthermore, Geoff stresses the need for imagination and investment to usher in a new age of sustainable industrial economies.
Having always embodied the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship, Fred shares with us stories of his relentless efforts in developing projects which led to the success of Finder. We hear about how the website came about, its purpose of improving people’s lives, what is next for the growing company and a potential public listing in the horizon.
In the cutthroat industry of search engine optimisation, Fred discusses the decisions he made, including a run-in with technology giant Google, which almost brought the company to ruin. He talks about the value of having courage in taking risks, speaking up and making mistakes. Furthermore, Fred reveals to us a vision never before shared about the future of Australia. He elaborates his view of the Australian technology landscape and compares this to the more favourable conditions overseas, the ever-rising relevance of cryptocurrency and how we can protect our wealth.
Finder have recently soft-launched the “Finder App”, the first in Australia to connect your accounts to provide you with insights, comparisons and opportunities to save. The app is available on different platforms and can be unlocked for early access through a code which will be revealed during the episode.
Having been in a variety of industries, James always had a particular interest in media. After finishing his master’s degree, he started a role with the ABC and then headed overseas to work at British Telecom. After the Global Financial Crisis, James returned to Australia and worked at Deloitte, where he had the SBS as one of his clients. From there, he started his career in SBS with the finance team, becoming CFO, before being appointed Managing Director in October 2018.
With respect to the constant evolution of the various facets of media, from fake news in social channels influencing public perceptions to preferences when it comes to how content is consumed, James shares his thoughts on these topics and explains how the SBS stays true to its unique purpose, and role as a public broadcaster.
James takes pride in being part of an organisation that promotes unity and diversity by delivering a product which aims to inform, include and engage all Australians. SBS broadcasts in 68 languages through a variety of platforms.
In this day and age of data and analytics, James and Greg discuss how leaders should take time to listen and think. In his role, James believes that the ability to hear and listen to a diversity of thoughts and ideas enables one to have a more profound impact in an organisation, and even society.
Hailing from Saint Gall, Switzerland, Matt came from a family of academics. Initially unsure of which path to follow, he eventually pursued economics and finance, which led to a 15 year international career at McKinsey & Company and continued success with Tabcorp Holdings Ltd, then The Star Entertainment Group Ltd.
Matt presents his thoughts on leadership and the facts. Having worked across an array of countries, he brings a unique perspective on the matter, believing that leadership is not about the “big personality”, it’s the willingness to commit to action and go over the trench with the team.
Although challenges do exist, he is very optimistic about the future of the Australian economy and highlights some home truths. He also shares with us his insights into the opportunities that tourism offers and how, as a nation, we should take advantage of them before it’s too late.
Furthermore, Greg and Matt converse on the significant potential around digital, analytics and artificial intelligence and what this means for the customer. They discuss the evolution of The Star Entertainment Group Ltd, the recent journey and exciting future as well as the macroeconomic and political environment that business face. Importantly throughout the discussion, we are presented with some differing views to conventional wisdom.
Soon after leaving Tasmania, she joined Management Consulting firm McKinsey & Company. It is here where the foundations of success were laid for Alison, and she was able to observe the key traits in what makes a successful leader. She reflects on her time at McKinsey and tells us that sometimes just doing your job isn’t enough and going that extra mile is what separates the good from the great.
Alison shares with us an opportunity she was given at ANZ, and how taking that opportunity opened the doors to her executive career. She discusses some of the challenges she encountered as Chief Executive at GrainCorp and the roadblocks she faced at the hands of the Government. Furthermore, she talks of the future of Coca-Cola Amatil and its role as a socially responsible company.
Greg and Alison also discuss the importance of risk-taking, the impact of social media, what she feels defines diversity, and whether or not it works, the effect the political landscape of Australia has on the economy and the significance on being willing and wanting to change.
Beginning his career as a door to door vacuum cleaner salesman to becoming one of the most recognised and distinguished business leaders, Gerry shares with us the genesis and growth of Harvey Norman, sharing with us the many ups and downs he has had to face in order to thrive in one of the most competitive industries.
In Part B of this two part series, Gerry discusses the state of retail, Australian and international politics, the economy, seizing opportunity, his passion for horse trading and the important things in life.
Beginning his career as a door to door vacuum cleaner salesman to becoming one of the most recognised and distinguished business leaders, Gerry shares with us the genesis and growth of Harvey Norman, sharing with us the many ups and downs he has had to face in order to thrive in one of the most competitive industries.
In Part A of this two part series, Gerry discusses what motivates him, what makes a good leader and businessman, his unique and successful partnership with the CEO and taking risk.
Peter shares a personal story and how he took a chance and invested in continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), the first successful non-invasive treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. Starting from a garage in Australia he went on to found ResMed to help commercialise and allow scalable production of CPAP with a business that is now dual listed (ASX/NYSE), has a market cap of over US$19bn across 120 countries and still growing. “If we were in a marathon we are only doing our shoe laces up..that’s how much growth opportunity there is”.
In this colourful and very thought provoking discussion, Peter pulls no punches. “Entrepreneurship has almost nothing to do with risk taking, it’s opportunity seeking..and innovation only occurs when somebody writes you a cheque”. He discusses the criteria and platform for business success and “the need for world-class people”. He also is to the point in regards to other business dynamics, including political correctness, diversity, social media, competition, the investment in technology and focus on product and customer.
Peter shares his thoughts on climate change, arguing that the conditions we are experiencing today are the result of the natural process, as opposed to anthropogenic causes, claiming it to be “absolute nonsense”. Having resided in the United States for several years, Peter highlights the political atmosphere of the country, calling out those who he feels continually “virtue signal” with complete disregard for common sense breaking the back of American society.
Lastly, Peter touches on global affairs including China, Brexit and how the Bureaucrats of Brussels have persistently road blocked British attempts to leave the European Union. He suggests the hard line politicians with back bone such as Margaret Thatcher are a rare breed and is concerned how Australia is positioning itself with an “insane” corporate tax rate of 30%. He questions who would manufacture in Australia when neighbouring countries are far more competitive and willing to incentivise business.
This is an open conversation with views put forward by Peter to question and challenge. Not everyone will agree, some will agree to disagree but as Peter stresses, lets look at the facts and have the conversation.
Robert has had a distinguished career with over thirty years’ experience in corporate finance and investment banking, and has been involved in a wide array of capital markets transactions for several leading corporations.
Robert delves deep into a discussion on the history of Australian banks and the transformation of banks into what they are today, pillars of our society. He discusses the relatively low importance the Australian bank had on the majority of the populace, instead an institution used by the rich and powerful. The changes made by the Hawke and Keating Governments allowed for the opening up of the financial system and as Robert claims was “one of the big revolutions” which allowed finance and credit to be available to almost all and hence forth, has been the lifeblood and a fundamental building block to our economic and social life.
Robert also shares with us his concerns on the implications that the general availability of credit to all can have, citing the “great collapse” of 2007 and that this tragedy was “the roosters coming home to roost” which has given rise to increased regulatory intrusion that we wouldn’t of have imaged possible before. Robert also discusses the importance of utilising technology stating, “technology is the most important factor in banking for the next generation” and taking advantage of these new emerging technologies will help streamline the process for the customer and is key to future success.
Lastly, Robert tells us that he feels it is the responsibility of his bank to give back to the local community and shares with us the belief that “banks don’t prosper when the communities in which they operate become impoverished. It’s only when they’re prosperous that banks prosper too”.
In an open and fascinating discussion, Tim shares with us his story. From an early age he has been on the move, living in several poverty stricken nations and being exposed to much more than most and ultimately was determined to one day have the means to help those who are socially disadvantaged.
Tim has had a distinguished business career, commencing in management consultancy with LEK before becoming the Chairman and Managing Director of Bain & Company’s Australasian and African operations and a member of Bain & Company’s Global Executive Committee. Advising many CEO’s, Tim shares with us some unique insights and encourages us to question some long held business principles as he discusses his transition to private equity and reveals the precepts of PE and dispels the myths.
We explore the climate of the market, the significance of the board configuration in determining company performance, the opportunity to release the full potential of organisations from the bonds of the current model and the willingness to break down conventional wisdom to achieve so much more.
Lastly, we cover Tim’s deep passion and obligation to help others through his philanthropic initiatives and how he has applied his expertise from the world of private equity into helping those in need.
Having been a management consultant for 12 years it was on the day of his retirement from McKinsey when Graham was given an opportunity which would lead to his eventual appointment as Chief Executive Officer of law firm, Blake Dawson Waldron. This appointment spring boarded Graham into the corporate world and he has thrived ever since, becoming a Non-Executive Chairman for GrainCorp Ltd, EnergyAustralia Holdings, HSBC Bank Australia and Virgin Australia International Holdings. He is also a Director of HongKong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Ltd, GI Dynamics, and Stilmark Pty Ltd.
With extensive experience on Boards, Graham shares his thoughts on what he feels is needed in today’s boards. Having been involved in the appointment of five Chief Executives he has a clear perspective on what he looks for, he states “We’re not looking for the person who’s going to be autocratic. We’re not looking for someone who comes in with very fixed ideas about what’s to be done and how to run the business. I think we’re looking for someone who is a little more humble”.
Graham goes on to discuss in depth the current composition of Australian boards and highlights the pros and cons of the current framework of an Australian Board. Graham also shares with us his belief in what is crucial to improve the quality of Boards, a greater need for “cognitive diversity” which Graham feels is more important than gender and ethnic diversity. He explains cognitive diversity as people who “bring a different life experience and therefore a different perspective to the business issues, who have had experience in different walks of life. But that isn’t to say you go out and say well we need a poet, we need a musician and we need someone who is you know from totally different backgrounds.”
Lastly, Graham touches on the real need for reflection and consideration around social license, and the need to consider long term consequences. He refers to the ASX guidelines revision draft and highlights the changing norms in today’s society in which companies are no longer solely judged by profit but by their social standing.
rtners‘ Gregory Robinson is delighted to speak to Stefanie Loader, current Non-Executive Director of St Barbara Ltd and Clean TeQ Ltd. Stefanie has previously been recognised as one of the Australian Financial Review 100 Women of influence and is a mining industry executive with broad international experience. She has worked in exploration, project evaluation and development, mining and corporate roles across seven countries and four continents. Stefanie was most recently Managing Director of Northparkes Copper and Gold Mine for CMOC International.
In an open and thoughtful discussion, Stefanie reveals her story, one of an individual who has constantly gone against the grain in several aspects of life and has profited from doing so. Dialling in from country Australia, we learn how Stefanie commenced her career as a geologist, worked internationally, became the first woman Chairman of the NSW Minerals Council and now whilst pursuing a board career is also focused on the economic development of regional Australia.
Lastly, we cover societal expectations for young women and the need for more than a shift in chat.
Starting his first business whilst still at University, Rob had his entrepreneurial spirit implanted in him at a young age. Being fascinated by technology in his youth, he was encouraged by his father to use that fascination and mix it with business, laying the foundations for his future endeavours.
Rob highlights the fact that Australia “hasn’t created a culture and a belief that we can be commercially successful with technology”. He believes that Australians have the capacity to excel in creating technology, but falter in our knowledge of how to market and sell technology. Instead, Australian’s either license, sell-out and go offshore too early. This leaves most of the value and experience offshore, robbing Australia of the opportunity to build a sustainable technology industry.
In this very upbeat and passionate discussion, Rob offers a piece of advice for the Government regarding technology, “get out of the way”. He believes the continual shift in policy regarding innovation by the Australian Government is a huge detriment to the survival and growth of the industry. He states what is needed is for the Government to disassociate itself from start-ups and allow for free-enterprise to take hold.
Lastly, Rob comments on understanding the importance of failure in future success. The numerous trials and tribulations he has gone through his career have left a distinct impression on him in which he understands without risk there can be no reward.
Kathryn is one of those rare executives who has broken with tradition and worked across a range of industries and been highly successful. She commenced her career as a petroleum engineer for Esso Australia in what was a girl’s adventure in a man’s world before pursuing her interest as a problem solving junkie with McKinsey & Co. Wanting to further test herself, she then joined ANZ Banking Group in the roles of General Manager, Retail Banking, New Zealand leading over 5000 people, and later Managing Director, Banking Products. Kathryn then chose to return to her industrial roots and joined BHP Steel which became BlueScope Steel, becoming President of the Asia division, including Chair of Tata BlueScope Steel in India. She eventually returned to Australia and helped Linfox turnaround a division before making an earlier than expected career transition to the Boardroom. Kathryn has since built an impressive NED career serving on the board of the Reserve Bank of Australia, Chairman of Breast Cancer Network Australia and most recently was President of Chief Executive Women.
Greg and Kathryn discuss a myriad of topics including business optimism in Australia, the composition of Boards, the need for more effective R&D, fear of innovation and what is real diversity. Kathryn expresses concern of the lack of females in executive roles, what needs to change and what numbers she would expect in the next ten years. She puts forward her concerns over the gap between the high numbers of educated females to the low number of females pursuing senior careers and poignantly questions the waste to the nation and the time for decisive leadership.
Lastly and importantly, Kathryn shares with us her thoughts on taking risk and not being one of those disappointed with how things turned out. With her infectious confidence, Kathryn is “absolutely driven and expects to be successful” whilst at the same time taking the approach of “giving it a shot and if it doesn’t work out you’ll get another job”, a lesson for us all.
In what is arguably recommended listening to all, Greg and Marcus discuss the disturbing increase of emerging cyber technologies, the significant impact an attack can have and what needs to be done to curb the heightened threat of cyber-attacks on Australia. Marcus stresses the importance of cyber security and reinforces the fact that everyone is at risk of cyber-attack.
Business and social engagement is increasingly being conducted over network connected devices and as a result, so too has the scale of intrusion and threat. Marcus highlights the rewards of cyber-crime have become so great that Cyber criminals are often highly professional and very sophisticated, drawing on the resources of organised crime or rogue states with both businesses and individuals as their highly tempting targets.
Marcus puts forward a worst case scenario in which he describes an attack which comes “at scale”. Explaining, “If a large scale attack can currently hit critical infrastructure, then we would be at serious risk, essential infrastructure such as air traffic control, financial systems and telecommunication services would all be severely hampered and cause a break down in society. What would happen if we couldn’t use our credit cards for a week, call, text or transfer funds?”.
Lastly, Marcus highlights the effectiveness of a cyber-attack sharing an example of a team of only five cyber operators, five intelligence officers and two lawyers were able to unpack an entire force of soldiers performing war games by using their social media activity against them. Within less than 48 hours, the team had determined the unit names, the unit locations in the war game, in some cases unit intent and had seized the initiative and helped change the course and outcome of the hypothetical war.
Greg dials across the Tasman to speak to Kate and discusses how by 2022, 87% of New Zealanders will have access to high speed fibre broadband and how the premise of wanting to keep New Zealand ahead of the curve has promoted a climate of innovation and digitisation. “Our vision is to keep New Zealand new and our purpose is to make New Zealand better”. The build is on time and on budget, giving people access to affordable and high quality broadband, which in turn is assisting in the growth and evolvement of the economy.
Kate also discusses the increasing influence that the internet has on our lives and shares with us the opportunities and challenges she faces at Chorus. In particular, the benefits of co-operation and innovation between company and state as well as the responsibility that comes in having to deal with cyber criminals.
As Chief Executive Officer, Kate shares her thoughts on leadership, the importance of personal character traits of optimism, curiosity, and courage. She also puts forward her thoughts on executives having at least one external role, a definition of diversity and the need to engender confidence in the up and coming executives.
A rare case in any part of the world, Lindsay Partridge has been at the helm of Brickworks for 20 years. Inheriting “five factories in two states”, Brickworks under Lindsay’s tenure has grown significantly in terms of size and profitability as its operations have become not only Australia-wide, but international, with its product range extending beyond bricks to roofing tiles, pavers, masonry, precast panels, timber products and activities expanding into property development.
Lindsay and Greg discuss the current climate of business conditions within Australia, which Lindsay claims as “toxic” and that the path we are continuing down will lead to businesses taking manufacturing elsewhere due to an ever increasing cost of production. He shares how Brickworks has continued to grow through innovation and seizing new strategic opportunities, highlighting the ambitious growth strategy in the United States and the recent $151 million acquisition of Glen-Gery, America’s fourth-largest brick manufacturer.
Lastly, Greg and Lindsay discuss what makes a great CEO and the need for the “go gene”.
Graham discusses the importance of looking outwards at other international airports in gaining a perspective of what elements create the perfect airport. He shares with Greg his plans on opening a carbon neutral airport with renewable energy, low wastage levels and plenty of recycling.
Graham discusses the technologies he wants to completely immerse into the new Western Sydney airport with newer more advanced technologies than currently available at Kingsford Smith Airport which will ultimately help create a more relaxed and leisurely experience upon arriving at the airport. He shares with us his plan on working with Uber Elevate to create what sounds like “flying cars” to assist with congestion as well as time. Adding to Uber Elevate, he shares his vision of the airport having a strong public transport presence which again, will help lessen congestion and reduce pollution.
He also stresses the importance of an airport being more than just an airport, his key goal is to create an Aerotropolis, which he defines as an aviation city. Graham and his team hope to create an airport which combines residential, commercial and industrial types of facilities, essentially becoming a hub of not just air travel but a hub of business.
Michael brings to light an honest appraisal of not only himself but the business environment in which he is in. Michael speaks frankly about his role and the necessities and tough decisions that come with it and how as a leader you must be able to do two things, “think extremely long term and be in the absolute minutiae of the detail”.
Beginning his career in logistics, Michael supported his mother’s transportation company which has led to a distinguished career working for well-known companies such as Mayne Nickless, Westgate, Linfox and now Toll. He explains how his near “monastic” life has helped him navigate his career in which he states that “he always wanted the job no one wanted”. Like most leaders, Michael is never happy with what he has achieved. He believes that it is the role of the Managing Director to continue to encourage others to break the barrier and continue to push boundaries and stay ahead of the continuously unpredictable world.
Michael declares that he understands that “not everyone is going to agree with you” and wanting to please the 44,000 people who he leads at toll is counterproductive, instead it is his responsibility to pick those few around him who he deems fit to act as “acolytes” to help him move forward. Looking back at his time at Linfox he drives home the importance of “investing in people”, reinforcing this with his experiences with the Fox family who invested heavily in him leading to “enormous opportunities” and due to their well-placed confidence in him, has led him to the position he is in today.
Lastly, Michael speaks frankly on how strategy is regarded in the mind of today’s businesses. He emphasises that strategy takes years to execute, two years at minimum, so to change strategy every year only hurts a business and consequently blurs any real long term objective and subverts strategy to tactics.
Barry’s story is inspiring. To say Barry has faced challenges is an understatement. In this very personal and illuminating discussion, Barry shares with us the human side of an ASX Chairman and how culture and innovation come from all parts of life and are not what is necessarily found in the business textbook or hung as the company mantra on the office walls.
Through curiosity, hard work and as a result of difficult personal circumstances he found himself getting better acquainted with the Bega dairy Co-Op and soon realised it may be the avenue for his business career. Within a short period of time Barry became Chairman of Bega Cheese, and through his outstanding leadership has taken an organisation in very difficult circumstances, through a transformational journey that has seen it cemented as a powerhouse in the dairy industry where it holds 15% of the Australian retail cheese market exported to over 40 countries.
Barry shares insights into his first day as leader of Bega Cheese and his first strategy meeting knowing that the competitors were circling saying “the competitive advantage we have is that we have no competitive advantage. Everybody will underestimate us. We will be on everybody’s list to disappear”. Barry’s passion and willingness to take calculated risk comes through as does his ability to share his dream with competitors and question the status quo.
In 2017 Bega announced a $460 million deal with Mondelez International to acquire most of their grocery and cheese business in Australia and New Zealand which included the iconic Australian product Vegemite as well as the license to manufacture Kraft branded cheese and peanut butter. These acquisitions add over $310 million in annual revenue and has moved Bega Cheese from a dairy-based company to a diversified consumer goods company.
Today Barry is a central figure in the Australian Dairy and consumer goods industry and is not sitting back but wants to take on the global markets with Australian ingenuity and smarts.
Barry has also played a key role in the development of Giant Steps, the charity that seeks to provide support to families, to improve understanding of autism in the wider community and to develop best practice among carers and professionals.
In an inspiring episode, Vik lays the groundwork for what makes success. He reinforces this notion by sharing his own story and how the risks he took which others declined, ultimately spring boarded him on a global career. His enthusiastic and relentless drive has established him as a leader of the highest degree.
Vik brings a spirited approach to leadership, his deep thinking and front facing style to the “moments of truth” is evident throughout Greg and Vik’s discussion. Sustainability is at the forefront of Vik’s agenda, he states “there is nothing Cleanaway does every single minute, every day, which does not help the planet”.
He explains that he and Cleanaway are at the “pointy edge” of something critical for the human species and shares his belief that a clear national waste and climate policy is needed to help cement sustainability in the minds of all Australian households, an opportunity worthy of pursuit.
Vik is concerned that leadership is highly underestimated in today’s society and needs to be encouraged. Vik puts forward the quintessential trait of a leader is humility and that honesty is the best medicine. In a thought provoking discussion, Vik forces us to really think and provides key insights to a philosophy which has allowed him to bring about unprecedented results in what most others felt was a lost cause.
Mike discusses his early career working at HSBC where an invitation to play a game of rugby led to him getting a job at the Hong Kong branch of HSBC. Initially uninformed about banking Mike rallied and went on to lead a team of 200, at the age of 22.
Mike also recalls his time working in Argentina where he took it upon himself to investigate corruption which led to an attempt on his life whilst driving home. Understandably an event like this would send most people packing but as a testament to his character, Mike decided to stay in Argentina, saying that “It’s a question of if I was ready to give in, and I was not ready to give in”.
Mike also discusses how a shared vision of the opportunity to expand into Asia led him to become the Chief Executive Officer of ANZ. He highlights the intricacies of what it was like to be the Head of a multinational bank and highlights the difficulties in opening up ANZ to the Asian market. Ever the contrarian, Mike pushed ahead with his belief in expansion into Asia.
Greg and Mike also deliberate on the current economic conditions that the world today faces. Issues such as Brexit, China and President Trump come to light as well as how society as a whole is changing today, especially the dramatic increase in the influence of social media, with Mike stating that “we pander to issues which create noise on social media”.
Gus shares his thoughts on modern leadership in complex disrupted organisations through his lens as Commander of Forces Command, with responsibility for 36,000 personnel which equates to 85% of the Australian Army. Especially interesting are his insights into similarities and differences in leadership between business and the military, and the learnings that each can gain from the other.
In his role as Commander of Forces Command, Gus has a diverse set of responsibilities, comparable to many Chief Executives, but operating in a different context. Gus presents his insights as previous Head of Modernisation and Strategic Planning, where he had responsibility for developing the future operating concepts that are keeping Australia ahead of potential threat organisations. These initiatives can lead to $20-30bn investments over the life of major capabilities and may include the creation of a digital “internet of things” linking all elements of the organisation, a redesign of the Army structure to accommodate the growth of cyber and electronic warfare capabilities and the creation of an Army innovation system.
As Senior Campaign Planner Coalition Forces Afghanistan 2013, he had a key role for the multi-national coalition involved in the stabilisation of Afghanistan following the removal of the Taliban regime. The role spanned strategy development to provide force drawdown and force structure options to the President of the United States of America to the apportionment of development resources and mentoring of Afghan partner forces. The coalition comprised over 30 nations, each with different national objectives and planning was done in a dynamic and often lethal environment.
Greg and Georgette converse on a number of topics including the redefinition of leadership, the importance of values, a broader approach to diversity and inclusion, the higher purpose to work, and how difficult it is for a female to get ahead. Georgette shares her personal experience in the face of adversity, highlighting that diversity and inclusion is much broader than just gender and that leadership is far more than the “last out the door” approach to work.
Georgette discusses the fundamental difference in business between Australia and the United States, emphasising how the United States culture is more willing to take risks. She highlights the challenges around short-termism, the need for the Board and the Executive team to be firmly aligned to the strategy, the conversation around remuneration and impact and asks are you living the values of the corporation and yourself. Ultimately Georgette believes in passion, resilience, humility and leaving the world better than when she arrived.
Ian learned the marketing ropes from the ground up. He began as a mail boy in Australia’s biggest advertising agency, George Patterson, and progressed to be its Chairman and CEO. Along the way he helped create some memorable and valuable brands like the Optus ‘YES’ campaign. Ian retired at just 48 years old, before transitioning to senior ASX listed NED and Chair roles.
The informative and highly entertaining interview with Ian covers not just his personal and career journey but touches on some very important and prescient topics. He hits the high points of his best-selling book ‘Stop Bitching, Start Pitching’.
Trust is at the heart of brand building and business success. Ian outlines examples of how he believes we are living in a period where trust has never before been breached on so many fronts. The potential commercial, economic and social implications are far reaching and disturbing. His references to the recent Royal Commission pulls no punches. Ian cements his views on trust by sharing his own stories of his experiences around the world in which trust can be earned in the most subtle of ways, whilst also presenting his proprietary formula for measuring trust expressed as a mathematical equation.
‘Creating Wow Moments’ for clients is another topic Ian maintains is the key to successful profits. ‘I’m more interested in traction than transaction’ he says, ‘because repeat purchases by sticky loyal customers is the key to margin growth’. How he develops these outstanding moments of truth is fascinating.
EVERYONE who hears this podcast will make a note of The Elliot Trust Formula and use it to measure the trustworthiness of those they need to rely upon. From staff to employers, to suppliers to shareholders, friends and extended family members. Most importantly he asks us to judge our own score for trustworthiness and use that to embark on a journey of continuous improvement.
David and Gregory discuss the current state of ASX Boards, their role, structure and composition. David suggests an alternative model to meet market and stakeholder expectations. He presents a framework similar to what exists in Germany, namely the two-tier model, where you have a Supervisory and a Management Board to provide all the requirements that we aspire to today.
They cover ANZ’s international history and expansion as well as the current strategy and focus on “agile”. David highlights the relationship between business and Government and how interaction could be improved. David puts forward his views on Gonski 1.0, 2.0 and “3.0” and is asked as a nation, do we place enough value on education?
To this day, David still sees himself as an immigrant and believes very strongly in the value of immigration, offering some personal insight in keeping ones dreams alive, his relentless pursuit to prove himself each day and “give back” to the country. David shares the key learnings gained from the various mentors in his life and the legacy he would like to leave.
In a highly engaging discussion, David encourages the need for questioning and the time for change.
John discusses his career in the airline industry, starting at the mailroom and working his way up to the senior ranks of the Qantas hierarchy, and finally in 2010 becoming Head of Virgin Australia.
They cover the key challenges that John had to face as CEO of Virgin and the evolution of Aircraft in the last 50 years, and how through increasingly more effective technology we are able to travel the world in shorter times.
John delves into his younger years, working at his father’s coffee shop who was “always out front” to greet and welcome customers, which helped shape John’s philosophy for years to come.
John discusses how he felt it was necessary to give his personal phone number to all Virgin Australia pilots on his first day, stating that he feels “they have the best seat of the house” in how the business is run.
“Everyone fly’s through an aluminium tube, the one thing that makes the difference is the people who are inside those tubes and how they interact with you, simply looking someone in the eye, a smile and calling someone by their name is all you need”.
Brendon and Gregory discuss the various stages of oOh! Media including iterations of the business name over the last 39 years. He highlights the pivotal moments in the Company’s history from their first big client to the investors that believed in the Company’s vision for the future. They cover research, innovation and technology on the global stage and how Brendon has shaped a business to achieve targets eight years out. He and Gregory discuss the evolution of the industry and how out-of-home advertising has remained effective throughout the year’s thanks to cutting-edge technology. Brendon looks to the future of the out-of-home advertising industry and how to lead a company which blends property, real estate, logistics, advertising, media and technology.
Brendon has continuously elevated oOh! Media to a new level that’s far beyond what out-of-home was back when he bluffed his way through his first interview. He emphasises his personal commitment to learning and growth as well as developing a company culture with the same focus. He and Gregory discuss the changing needs of the business from hiring young talent that wanted to “have a go” to data architects and data scientists. Brendon hones in on the importance of a vision and developing a culture where your staff are happy to go to work.
From taking on Google and Facebook to advertising for driverless cars, Brendon leaves you with the feeling that anything is possible with the right attitude and a little perseverance.
Danny shares his journey, from when he left a leading law firm in 1988 to establish the firm with fellow Lawyer Tony Tobin. Over the next 30 years, Gilbert + Tobin built an outstanding reputation taking market share from the major well established law firms, many of which had been in practice for over 100 years and would not have thought it possible for a new brand to emerge and challenge them. Today, Gilbert + Tobin employs 700 people, including 80 Partners with one of the highest proportions of female partners of any major Australian law firm and are acknowledged as a pioneer in providing pro bono services.
Starting life in country NSW, he followed the advice of his school teacher and moved to Sydney to study law, the vehicle which would later allow him to transcend from lawyer to entrepreneur and successful businessman. Danny placed an early bet that Gilbert & Tobin should build a profile as the experts in technology, telecommunications and media. Soon the firm became renowned for their progressive approach to legal issues and client service.
Danny also had a burning desire from day one to give back with an unswerving commitment to social justice. Danny realised if he was to make a difference and walk the walk he had to generate revenue. It was obvious he needed to grow the firm if he was to significantly give and did so with vigour and dedication. Not everyone makes it, and Danny has faced setbacks but sees his role increasingly as the disrupter balancing the desire to grow and the need to be a good corporate citizen.
Danny also discusses his views on the need to amend the constitution and recognise the indigenous people. He highlights the standing of business in the Australian community and shares responsibility for the damage being done by banks as a former Director of one of the four major banks. Danny highlights the role of the political parties, the relationship with business and a personal disappointment in regards to the ABC.
Danny has created a spirit in the organisation of relentless energy and an open environment with people who want to achieve, creating a top tier firm. Gregory asks Danny what he feels are the essential qualities for success and where he actually spends his time. Is Leadership really as simple as inspiring others to follow you?
In a topical and engaging discussion Danny sums his success in two words, “Back Yourself”.
Roger shares his thoughts on the journey, punctuated with real-world experiences. He discusses his thoughts about taking risks, missing out on opportunities, having confidence in one’s ability, the importance of family and those that help you along the way.
Gregory gains Roger’s views on the erosion of trust in Australian business and the Banking Royal Commission. Roger challenges the effectiveness of today’s Boards, in particular that of Chairmen and highlights concerns about the role of business as well as the ACCC and BCA in the national debate. He feels the silence of business is a genuine cause for worry.
Gregory asks Roger about the transition from Chief Executive Officer to Director and in particular the lessons learned as Chairman at Fairfax during a time of tremendous technological change and the impact of digital on the newspaper. Were the Board and Executive Team able to appreciate the business opportunity and threat, and the thinking at the time?
Gregory and Roger also consider the collective impact of digital technology and of cynicism in society and examine the broader picture of political leadership including Donald Trump and the United States. Roger discusses the Australian political landscape and the unrealised potential Australian Governments have presided over. He shares his disappointment in the most recent Prime Minister and current Government in what he feels was a lost opportunity at a critical point of Australia’s economic history, the lack of willingness to introduce tax reform.
Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half-truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, we feltimpelled to present a podcast that keeps you informed of the real discussions happening behind closed doors and along the corridors of power.
Michael has addressed both corporate and government leaders all over the world on this critical topic. In the last two years this has included engagements in New Delhi, Cape Town, Paris, Toronto, San Francisco, Singapore and Sydney. He is often invited to contribute on A.I. robotics and advancing technologies in international think tanks as well as industry and news media.
As Chief Executive Officer of Faethm, Michael has overseen the development of the ground breaking product, Faethm.ai, its successful launch in October 2017 and rapid adoption by major multinational companies and governments across the globe to understand the economic impact of technological and digital disruption.
Michael is one of five external members of the global mining and resources giant BHP’s Science and Innovation Council. He has also been asked to participate at the World Economic Forum’s “Summer Davos” event.
Michael shares his insights during a robust discussion where he debunks the falsehoods surrounding the fear of A.I. and provides the good and bad news for all of us at work, the winners and the losers, the pace of change and the need for serious action. (41.31)
As the Director of the National Centre for Adult Stem Cell Research for a decade, Alan’s research has championed the use of stem cells and led to major advances in understanding the biological bases of brain disorders and diseases such as Schizophrenia and Parkinson’s.
In 2014 a Polish medical team put into practice Alan’s research on a man who had become paralysed from the chest down after repeated stab wounds to the back. They achieved the world’s first successful restoration of mobility with the man now walking. This was a giant step in science and has given hope to millions with spinal cord injuries.
Throughout his career Alan has been prepared to take risks and to challenge historical wisdom. It’s an inspirational story from a modern-day pioneer that covers innovation, risk versus reward, leadership and how to keep people motivated – a powerful lesson in courage, determination and resilience for all business leaders.
As executive search professionals they are concerned the traditional succession and diversity planning processes are failing to unearth and promote the tremendous potential in the market and build the future executive pipeline.