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 10 October 2017 (subscription may be required).
The ever-humble Sir Eric, who is a former governor of South Australia, long serving Boral chief executive and board member of BHP, Coca-Cola Amatil and chairman of Westpac, said his goal initially was to be a “good engineer”.
“I became a member of the Institute (AICD) in Queensland in the ’60s. I found it very valuable,’’ Sir Eric said. “I went to almost every course they put on to learn about the directors’ duties because I had aspirations to become a director. In the event I did become a director of the North Shore Gas Company and subsequently Boral.
“My advice to directors is to keep themselves abreast of the changes in responsibilities of directors legally and keep themselves abreast of attitudes in the community.
“You can’t change the culture of an organisation from the boardroom.
“The board of directors can see a need for a change in culture, and then they have to appoint a chief executive officer who’s going to implement that.’’
Mr Fidock, who is a former AICD national president and was chairman of Adelaide Bank for 20 years, said he started as a public servant but did not enjoy it, and switched careers to accountancy and became a partner by the age of 30.
“(The AICD) has a very important role, it’s obviously the leading body for company directors in Australia. Nothing counts like experience and keeping up to date, I can’t emphasise that enough.’’
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