The sec­ond com­ing

The Australian - The Deal - - The remaking of John Brogden -

JOHN Brog­den is one of the few peo­ple in re­cent times to tran­si­tion from a high-pro­file role in pol­i­tics to a high-pro­file role in busi­ness. One of the best ex­am­ples is for­mer NSW Pre­mier Nick Greiner, a Har­vard MBA who has held a wide range of com­pany di­rec­tor­ships. Greiner is chair of Brad­ken, QBE Australia and Ac­co­lade Wines. He is deputy chair­man of CHAMP Pri­vate Eq­uity and chair of the ad­vi­sory board of Roth­schild Australia. Oth­ers who have suc­cess­fully made the tran­si­tion in­clude for­mer Howard gov­ern­ment Min­is­ter War­wick Smith, whose long-time in­ter­est in China has stood him in a good stead. A for­mer ad­viser to Mac­quarie Bank, he is now chair­man of ANZ NSW and chair of the ad­vi­sory group of Kerry Stokes’ pri­vate in­vest­ment com­pany, Aus­tralian Eq­uity Group. For­mer deputy prime min­is­ter Mark Vaile is chair­man of White­haven Coal and a direc­tor of Vir­gin Australia Air­lines. For­mer Queens­land Trea­surer Keith DeLacy is chair­man of In­te­grated Food and En­ergy De­vel­op­ments and chaired Macarthur Coal un­til it was taken over by Pe­abody Re­sources in 2011. For­mer Vic­to­ria Pre­mier Steve Bracks is chair­man of Cbus, the $17 bil­lion su­per­an­nu­a­tion fund for the con­struc­tion in­dus­try and an ad­viser to in­dus­try fund body, IFM In­vestors.

Brog­den says some boards can be wary of ap­point­ing for­mer politi­cians. The for­mer NSW op­po­si­tion leader says they can make good lob­by­ists, as they know how the po­lit­i­cal process works, but they don’t al­ways make good com­pany di­rec­tors where a high level of team­work is re­quired. “When you go from pol­i­tics into busi­ness, you have to re­alise that no­body is in­ter­ested in your war sto­ries from pol­i­tics. They might be in­ter­ested over a beer or in a taxi to the air­port, but they don’t want to hear your war sto­ries in the mid­dle of a strat­egy ses­sion or a board meet­ing. The stay­ing that will sink most ex-politi­cians in busi­ness is a sen­tence start­ing with a quote ‘When I was a min­is­ter….”

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