AICD Life Fellows Sir Eric Neal and Richard Fidock shared many decades of accumulated wisdom at a special War Stories lunch held in Adelaide recently.
This article appeared in The Advertiser on 12 September 2017 (subscription may be required).
Mr Tragakis, who is chairman, South Australia and lead partner property for KPMG, recently completed the International Company Directors Course in Singapore.
With decades of experience already under his belt, Mr Tragakis thought his continuing education would be best served by engaging with issues and professionals dealing on a global scale.
“Being a director there are three key areas that you look at,’’ he said. “One is strategy, one is risk and the other is board effectiveness in helping the CEO achieve success.
“In all three of these topics we received an international flavour. Directors overseeing companies that are doing business globally need to understand what it means being a director in a global context.
That is why I did the international course.’’ Mr Tragakis said while there were legal and cultural norms in Australia which directors might be well versed in, in other regions there were different issues which arose. A good example of this was the impact of bribery and corruption in some areas, or the use of “facilitation payments’’.
“How do you deal with different cultures? For example the openness and the transparency is dealt with differently in different jurisdictions,’’ Mr Tragakis said. “We had an international law speaker that talked to us about how nuances – for example, with acting in the best interests of shareholders, which is a director’s duty – (are) viewed differently in different countries based on their legal requirements.’’
Mr Tragakis said a core takeaway was “how to think, act and behave as an international director”.
“The second exciting takeaway was meeting people and forming relationships with directors and executives from all over Asia,’’ he said. “There were a number SA expats who are now running major global enterprises. One runs a very large Saudi family office and another runs a major global hotel chain out of Singapore.
Both love SA and want to return someday”.
Mr Tragakis said Australian directors who might, for example, be appointed to companies or their own subsidiaries operating in Asia, might not be across local laws and regulations regarding their obligations, and it was vital they educated themselves.
“What we might do here isn’t necessarily the way you’d do it in Singapore or elsewhere in Asia,’’ he said. “The calibre and the quality of the facilitators was exceptional. I thoroughly recommend the international course. It is intense, there is a lot a preparation but the knowledge imparted was invaluable.”
The AICD says the course is for: “Directors, chairs, managing directors, senior managers and executives of organisations operating internationally or planning to do so.
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