Annual Review 2011: Highlights

  • Date:01 Oct 2011
  • Type:CompanyDirectorMagazine


Throughout 2010/11, Company Directors introduced a range of initiatives to help increase value for our membership, from education and advocating for directors, to holding events and developing publications. In doing this, we hope to achieve our goal to be the centre for, and the voice of, governance and directorship in Australia.

Educating directors

  • Company Directors is proud of the high regard in which our education programs and courses are held both nationally and internationally. In keeping with this, throughout 2010/11, we:
  • Congratulated 1,781 Company Directors Course graduates, a six per cent increase on the previous year
  • Launched a new In-Focus course designed to assist Company Directors Course graduates plan for their director careers, called Developing Your Director Career
  • Updated our Foundations of Directorship program and all other courses including Mastering the Boardroom
  • Held our highly regarded International Company Directors Course in Singapore (September), Abu Dhabi (February) and Beijing (May). Following research undertaken with past participants, facilitators and directors who work internationally, a redesigned International Company Directors Course was launched in Beijing in May 2011
  • Customised our In-Boardroom program for specific clients. In turn, the number of program deliveries increased from 150 to 195
  • Ran 81 In-Focus courses
  • Launched an e-Learning program with a focus on superannuation, following feedback from members in the human resources and superannuation industries
  • Delivered two Governance for SME Directors courses online through a webinar
  • Delivered our MasterClass program for ASX 100 chairmen and directors. Thirty of Australia’s leading chairmen and directors accepted an invitation to attend the inaugural MasterClass, a day of discussion, reflection and engagement. The intention was to provide the opportunity to share knowledge and experience with peers in discussions led by three distinguished international speakers, Professor Viet Dinh, Lon Jacobs and Carol Hansell, and an equally high calibre discussion panel of Australian chairmen, including Don Argus AC FAICD, Catherine Livingstone AO FAICD, Michael Chaney AO FAICD, David Crawford AO FAICD and Belinda Hutchinson AM MAICD. Preparation is already underway for MasterClass 2012.

Another major focus continues to be increasing the good governance of Indigenous organisations and increasing the knowledge of our Indigenous business leaders. In turn, it is hoped there will be an increased Indigenous presence on boards and more broadly, commercial boards.

Advocating for directors

We continue to provide a voice for members on important issues affecting the directorship community.

In 2010/11, we lodged submissions to inquiries established by a range of government stakeholders and engaged regularly with state and Federal governments and the national and regional media. The key issues and initiatives during the financial year included:

Director liability – Advocating for reform of legislation hindering directors’ ability to carry out their duties has seen us undertake a range of activities, including numerous meetings with state and Federal government representatives to discuss our position, with a particular focus on the reform of provisions imposing criminal liability on directors under the Commonwealth of Australian Governments (COAG) agreement.

Our Boardroom Burden Report Card was also updated in 2010 and measured the "business-friendliness" of legal regimes on a state-by-state basis.

Executive remuneration – The proposed legislation affecting executive remuneration has been an area of major policy focus. We have made various representations and provided formal submissions to Government expressing our significant concerns with the proposals and the detrimental impact it will have on business and the economy.

Not-for-profit reform – Proposed reform of the NFP sector was an emerging focus and we have played an active role in this area, including an offer to work with government and share the benefit of our governance expertise. We also extended our Directors Social Impact Study nationally for the first time, with results released in September this year.

Our advocacy on these and a range of other director issues has resulted in a 38 per cent increase in media mentions.

Diversity – We continue to play a key leadership role in increasing the gender diversity of Australian boards. Board diversity is a competitive advantage, bringing real value to companies by adding to the collective skills and experience of the board.

The range of programs we have initiated has seen more women being appointed to boards across the country, which is encouraging, but we still have a long way to go. Our initiatives include:

  • Following the success of the inaugural program, the Chairmen’s Mentoring Program was expanded for its second year, commencing in May for a 12-month period. It involves 80 of Australia’s leading chairmen and directors mentoring 
83 board-ready women
  • Launching a Board Ready program aimed at helping prepare highly talented executives for directorship roles and assisting large organisations in building a diverse talent pool of executives
  • A scholarship program with the Federal Office for Women. Thirty-six recipients received a scholarship to complete the Company Directors Course and 34 to undertake the Mastering the Boardroom program
  • Publishing a new booklet, New Corporate Governance Recommendations on Diversity: Early Adopter Case Studies, which supplements our Tips for Getting Started booklet. The booklet provides case studies on five companies who had either already adopted the new diversity recommendations or were proposing to do so shortly
  • Developing a Director Pipeline Project in Western Australia, giving 45 female executives a range of professional development programs designed to develop and enhance their board skills
  • Awarding an Emerging Female Directorship Scholarship to one of Tasmania’s female executives to help develop her directorship career
  • Hosting a number of additional events and briefings tailored to the needs of female executives and directors
  • Providing real-time reporting on the gender diversity on Australian boards, including ASX 200 appointments, through our website.

Director Sentiment Index

In May 2011 we launched the Director Sentiment Index, Australia’s first market sentiment indicator measuring the opinions and future intentions of the director community.

The index will continue to be produced bi-annually, with the next survey due out in November this year, and will canvass directors’ views on current and future economic and business conditions, as well as key regulatory, governance and public policy issues.

The release of the index received significant coverage in national and regional media and was supported by member events in both Sydney and Melbourne.

Increasing member value

Company Directors is committed to enhancing value for our members and throughout the 2010/11 financial year, we expanded our existing offerings and developed new programs and services. Examples include:

  • Expanding the Emerging Directors program outside South Australia, providing the next generation of Australian directors with opportunities to gain further experience
  • Launching Director Tools, a series of practical guides for directors and boards, developed in response to member feedback. The tools are available on our website free of charge for members
  • Re-launching our Directorship Opportunities service for greater useability. More than 280 positions were advertised on this online job board over the past year
  • In March 2010, our website was refreshed to increase functionality for both members and non-members.

Expanding into the regions

Over the past year we have worked to increase our presence across Australia, particularly in regional areas where a number of our members are based. Regional committees across Western Australia, New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and the Northern Territory ensure that we are connected with and understand the issues pertinent to these regions.

In addition, dedicated regional events programs are in place across many of the divisions and are especially targeted at our members, who come from SMEs, NFPs and family businesses. Such programs include:

  • Big Issues for Boards in Victoria
  • NFP Director Briefings in Western Australia
  • Economic Forecast Series in Queensland.

Raising our international profile

We continue to increase our international profile to better support members based overseas and promote good governance outside Australia. As such, we have developed relationships with many international bodies and have hosted delegations from Sri Lanka, India, Canada and China. We also held our International Company Directors Course in Singapore, Abu Dhabi and Beijing and our annual Company Directors Conference in Beijing in May, the latter attracting more than 500 delegates and partners.

Hosting diverse events

Attendance at our events increased 13.5 per cent, which is a record. With 433 events being held during 2010/11, our speakers, topics and events covered a range directors issues, reflecting the diversity of our membership. Examples included:

July 2010

  • SME Directors Briefing, Social Media: Making It Work for You and Your Business (Sydney)
  • Regional Economic Forecast (Mackay, Cairns, Townsville, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Toowoomba)

August 2010

  • Lunch with James Strong AO FAICD, Chairman IAG and Woolworths (Sydney)
  • Leaders Edge Lunch with Tom Albanese, Chief Executive of Rio Tinto (Brisbane)
  • Lunch with Tony D’Aloisio MAICD, Chairman, ASIC (Darwin)
  • Member Networking Evening: How to Get on a Board (Launceston)

September 2010

  • Directors Lunch with Sir Rod Eddington, Chairman, Infrastructure Australia (Adelaide)

October 2010

  • Public Sector Governance Conference:10 (Canberra)

November 2010

  • Annual Dinner with the Governor-General, Ms Quentin Bryce AC (Adelaide)
  • Warrnambool Directors Breakfast, NFP Fundraising (Warrnambool)
  • Kalgoorlie Briefing, Issues and Challenges in the NFP Sector (Kalgoorlie)
  • Outback Forum, Rio Tinto Alcan (Brisbane to Gladstone)
  • International Director Networking Event (Hong Kong)

December 2010

  • Twilight Networking Event (Canberra)

February 2011

  • Mackay Directors on Location (Mackay)
  • Governance of Sport Lunch (Canberra)

March 2011

  • Briefing and Member Networking Event (Devonport)
  • Launch of the Wayaperri Initiative in Partnership with Aboriginal Affairs Victoria and the Indigenous Leadership Network Victoria (Melbourne)
  • 2011 Rottnest Forum (Perth)
  • Geelong Inaugural Leaders Dinner with Colin Carter FAICD (Geelong)

April 2011

  • Hunter Briefing, Talent Management and Leadership (Newcastle)

May 2011

  • Company Directors Conference, Directorship:11, Beijing (China)

June 2011

  • SME Briefing, Funding Challenges for SMEs (Perth)
  • Leaders’ Edge Lunch with Michael D’Ascenzo AO, Commissioner for Taxation (Hobart)

Developing publications

We continue to publish a range of publications for our members, both print and online.

Company Director magazine featured a range of articles 
on topics of relevance to our broad membership. This included profiles of prominent business leaders such as General Peter Cosgrove AC MC FAICD and former ASIC boss, Tony D’Aloisio.

We also published a new book, Engaging with Shareholders, which offers a practical framework for enhancing relationships with institutional and retail investors.


NSW Division

Gabrielle Schroder GAICD

State Manager, NSW

"The collective input from our members on a range of issues has played a critical role in our advocacy efforts"

The NSW Division created a range of member communities by sector, experience and interest in order to expand the voice of directors and enhance our advocacy efforts. Examples of these include:

Not-for-Profit (NFP) Forum

This forum facilitates the active contribution of our members in policy development that has a bearing on NFP governance and directorship. Outputs from this forum included our submission to the 2010 Productivity Commission’s Inquiry into Disclosure Regimes for Charities and NFPs and the Federal Government’s Scoping Study for a National NFP Regulator. It also led the national Directors Social Impact Study, which seeks to understand the contribution of the director community to the NFP sector.

The NSW Health Forum

This forum creates a voice of influence for members involved in the healthcare sector and affected by the Federal Government’s National Health and Hospitals Reform program. A wide cross-section of members contributed to submissions at Federal and state levels.


Western Australia

Suzanne Ardagh MAICD
State Manager, WA

"The key challenge for directors is to ensure that they have the information and knowledge to prepare them for an increasingly global business environment"

An area of focus for the WA Division was expanding the diversity of Australian boards. It launched two key programs:

Indigenous Governance Program

As part of the Indigenous Governance Program, 12 modules were delivered across south-west, mid-west and far-north WA. Participants included Indigenous board members, independent directors and traditional land owners.

A submission was also lodged with the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs in response to the Indigenous Economic Development Strategy Draft. The submission outlined the alignments between the outcomes of the Indigenous Governance Program and the strategic priorities outlined by the Department.

Director Pipeline Project

Launched in February 2011, the Director Pipeline Project offered 45 of WA’s most senior executive women the opportunity to extend and widen their networks with other directors and key decision-makers at selected private events and functions.

The participants attend educational and professional development programs, to prepare them for directorship roles as they become available.


Australian Capital Territory

Phil Butler GAICD
State Manager, ACT

"Facilitating events and courses aimed at improving governance across all sectors has been a key focus for the ACT Division"

Focusing on sectors and industries with a high presence in the region, the ACT Division held numerous events and briefings targeted at the public sector, NFP and SMEs. These included:

Governance of Sport Lunch

On the eve of the Super 15 Rugby Competition, the ACT Division hosted a Governance of Sport Lunch, exploring the demands of running elite sporting organisations. Speakers included Peter McGrath, chairman of the ARU; Sean Hammond, chairman of the ACT Brumbies; and Michael Thomson, general manager of the ACT Brumbies.

Thought Leadership Dinner

This event brought together a range of leaders of public sector organisations to discuss some of the "big picture" issues affecting Australia.

Following on from the dinner, the Public Sector Governance Conference was held with more than 150 directors and senior executives hearing from a range of international and local speakers, including Senator Penny Wong speaking publically for the first time in her role as Minister for Finance and Deregulation.


South Australia/Northern Territory

David Spear MAICD 

State Manager, SA/NT

"The Company Directors Course for Indigenous directors was an overwhelming success"

With strong growth in course and event attendees, the South Australia/Northern Territory Division focused on delivering offerings to its diverse membership base. Highlights included:

Company Directors Course for Indigenous Directors

In November 2010, the Company Directors Course was tailored to address the unique challenges faced by Indigenous directors and was run in Adelaide following the success of the inaugural program in Queensland in 2009. The program is about lifting the confidence of Indigenous businesspeople who have great potential to become high-performing directors.

The resounding success of the program reaffirmed 
the importance of making the course accessible in 
other regions.

South Australia Annual Dinner

The SA/NT Division was privileged to host Her Excellency the Governor-General Ms Quentin Bryce AC as a key guest speaker at its 2010 Annual Dinner.

The evening reflected on the achievements of the Division over the past year, including continued growth in membership, the continued success of the Emerging Directors program, supporting Australia’s future business leaders and the implementation of the Indigenous Governance Program.



Cathie Goss
State Manager, Tasmania

"Awarding the first Emerging Female Director Scholarship to a leading Tasmanian executive was a privilege"

With the number of Tasmanian members increasing rapidly, the Division focused on enhancing member value. Highlights included:

Dinner and Lunch Speakers

The Tasmania Division worked hard to secure some of Australia’s leading chairmen, directors and policymakers to speak at events. Over the course of the year, the Division hosted, among others, James Strong AO FAICD, chairman of Woolworths; James MacKenzie FAICD, chairman of Pacific Brands; Ian Smith MAICD, managing director of Newcrest Mining; and Michael D’Ascenzo AO, Commissioner of Taxation.

SME offerings

For the first time, Tasmania tailored specific courses and events for the SME market. Three Foundations of Directorship courses were held specifically for SMEs as well as two briefings. Feedback received from participants on both the courses and events were very positive.



Paul Geyer GAICD 

State Manager, Victoria

"Having a physical environment where we can interact more closely with members has been invaluable"

Committed to Company Directors’ role as the voice of governance and directorship, the Victoria Division worked closely with members and government to deliver new initiatives. They included:

Wayaperri Initiative

Victoria partnered with Aboriginal Affairs Victoria and the Indigenous Leadership Network Victoria to launch the Wayaperri Initiative, aimed at supporting Indigenous leadership through participation on boards, mentoring and learning. Aboriginal Affairs and the Victoria Division also teamed up to provide 12 scholarships for Indigenous business people to attend the Company Directors Course.

New facilities

With the Victoria Division relocating premises in July 2010, members now have access to on-site lounge and meeting facilities, with the majority of courses and events completed on-site. This means members and staff can work closer together to achieve positive outcomes.



Richard Moore GAICD

State Manager, Queensland

"The success of our offerings across the diverse Queensland director community, particularly in our regions, has been a real highlight"

The Queensland Division focused on ensuring member offerings could address the diverse nature of our membership base. Activities included:

Sector specific focus

The Division continued to develop sector-focused support to members, including working with Queensland Health in the introduction of Local Health Networks and General Practice Queensland with programs to primary health care practitioners; dedicated women directors events; and continued focus on the SME and regional sectors to ensure a balanced approach to the wider director community in the delivery of services and education.

Regional Committee Chairs Summit

In March 2011, the Division hosted the seven regional committee chairs in Brisbane for a summit to discuss the issues facing the regions, to develop strategies, share ideas and feedback.