MCNAMEE TAKES REINS
When Brian McNamee takes on the role of chair at CSL this week he retakes the reins of a company he previously ran for 23 years. But don’t expect him to overstep in his new position, according to outgoing chair John Shine.
Professor Shine said there was no doubt that the relationship between the chairman and chief executive was incredibly important and he expected Mr McNamee to have a strong relationship with CEO Paul Perreault.
“Brian and Paul are very different people but they share very similar ethical values about the patient focus and doing the right thing,” Mr Shine said.
“Brian is gung-ho, it’s black and white, let’s do that. Paul is much more considered but when he makes a decision he gets it done. But they share the same core value.”
Professor Shine said the board hired a head hunter and searched “long and hard”, but he said the requirement that the chairman had to be Australian narrowed the field.
“When we looked around Brian stood out far above the rest. On top of everything else, he knows the company,” Professor Shine said.
“The board felt it was important to have someone who understood the medical and scientific thrust of the company and its innovation focus.”
Professor Shine added that when the board first started to look at succession of the chair, Mr New chairman Brian McNamee McNamee’s name was mentioned early.
The outgoing chairman acknowledged that some in the market saw it as a potential issue that the ex-CEO was returning as chairman but he was confident it was the correct choice.
“I am incredibly positive about it. The same way I was when Paul took over from Brian,” Professor Shine said.
“Brian has had eight months on the board and he grasps the difference between the role of chairman and chief executive.”
Mr McNamee might grasp the difference in roles but Professor Shine still had some friendly advice for his replacement.
“When you have a great CEO, as chairman you have to make sure that he or she gets their appropriate place in the sun,” he said.
“My only word to Brian is — given he is so well known in the Australian context as the wonderful former CEO of CSL — to make sure that Paul gets his place in the sun.
“But I didn’t have to tell him, as Brian already knows that.”