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.”


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