Australian Shareholders’ Association Appoints New Director

The Australian Shareholders’ Association has announced the appointment of Don Hyatt as a director effective immediately.

Don has been a member of ASA since 2007 and is currently State Chairman in Victoria. He holds a Bachelor of Applied Science and a Masters of Education degree from Melbourne University, is Education convenor and has previously convened the Kingston suburban group for three years. As a company monitor and monitoring team co-ordinator he has a strong understanding of financial performance and corporate governance.

Chairman Ian Curry said “Don Hyatt will bring a strong understanding of ASA and its volunteer groups and members to board discussions.”

Andrew Penn Appointed New Telstra CEO

Andrew Penn will be the new Chief Executive Officer of Telstra, effective 1 May 2015, replacing David Thodey who announced his retirement after almost six years as CEO.

Telstra Chairman Catherine Livingstone announced that Mr Penn, 51, who is Telstra’s Chief Financial Officer and Group Executive International, had been selected by the Board to be Telstra’s next CEO.

Mr Penn, a former Group CEO of AXA Asia Pacific, has more than 30 years’ experience in Australia, New Zealand, Europe and across Asia-Pacific in roles including chief executive, finance, strategy and other executive positions.

“Andy is a seasoned executive in global markets with proven capability to lead organisations through significant transitions and major expansion,” Ms Livingstone said.

“He has played a key role in developing Telstra’s long-term growth strategy and we are delighted he will continue to lead Telstra’s plans to increase customer advocacy, core business value and capitalise on new growth opportunities.

“It is testament to David Thodey that we were able to select the next chief executive from within the business.”

Mr Penn said he was delighted to have been appointed CEO to build on Mr Thodey’s transition of Telstra into a customer-focused organisation with significant opportunities in new businesses, domestic operations and overseas investments and partnerships.

“Telstra plays a critical role to provide leading technology solutions and service to our customers in the consumer, business and broader social environment,” he said.

Mr Thodey will continue to assist with Mr Penn’s transition from 1 May until the end of the financial year and remain available to the business until late August.

Ms Livingstone paid tribute to Mr Thodey’s tenure as CEO, during which the company’s value more than doubled from below $40 billion to a recent 14-year high above $80 billion.

Commonwealth Bank Appoints New Group Executive

The Chief Executive Officer of Commonwealth Bank, Ian Narev, has announced the appointment of Vittoria Shortt as Group Executive, Marketing and Strategy. In this role Ms Shortt will report directly to Mr Narev as a member of the Group Executive Committee.

Ms Shortt joined the Commonwealth Bank in 2002 and has held a number of line roles in the retail banking businesses of both CBA and Bankwest, including customer-facing, operations and strategy leadership roles. Most recently, since May 2013 she has been the Commonwealth Bank’s Chief Marketing Officer. Ms Shortt began her career in audit and corporate finance with Deloitte and Carter Holt Harvey in New Zealand.

Mr Narev said: “Vittoria is an experienced banker with a track record of achievement in multiple roles during her 13 years with CBA. Her combination of skills has given us the opportunity to combine our marketing and strategy functions, which is a natural step given our on-going focus on customer service as the keystone of our strategy. I am delighted that she will join our senior leadership team.”

The appointment of Ms Shortt follows Rob Jesudason’s move from Group Executive, Group Strategic Development, to Group Executive, International Financial Services, in November 2014. Ms Shortt will commence in her new role with immediate effect.

Chevron To Sell Caltex Australia Stake

Chevron has said it will sell its 50% interest in oil-refiner and fuel-seller Caltex Australia.

The Australian company has a market value of 10.22 billion Australian dollars, indicating Chevron could raise around A$5 billion from the sale.

The biggest U.S. oil producer by output behind Exxon Mobil Corp. said it entered an underwriting agreement to sell its Caltex Australia shares to what it expects to be a range of institutional investors.

Colin Barnett To Visit India and Singapore

Premier and State Development Minister Colin Barnett will visit India and Singapore this week to further advance Western Australia’s trade and investment relationship with both countries.

Mr Barnett will travel to both Mumbai and New Delhi, and will meet senior national and provincial government officials, along with leading Indian resource companies including petroleum company Tata Petrodyne Ltd and the National Mineral Development Corporation, India’s biggest iron ore producer.

“India offers many economic opportunities for WA, particularly as it seeks to diversify its energy supplies, with liquefied natural gas imports growing at an average annual rate of 22 per cent over the past 10 years,” he said.

“This is an exciting time to visit India given the interest by Indian companies in WA’s resource sector.”

The Premier’s visit will also include meetings with several Australian and international financial service providers.

While in Singapore, the Premier will deliver the keynote address at the In the Zone Singapore forum, an offshoot of The University of Western Australia’s annual In the Zone conference in Perth that highlights WA’s strong economic and business links across Asia.

“The Western Australian Government established a trade and investment office in Singapore in 2012 and I look forward to returning to this global corporate and financial centre to build on our already close ties,” Mr Barnett said.

During his visit the Premier will meet Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Rare Opportunity For Businesses Seeking Growth

Supporting jobs and business growth in the aftermath of ex-Tropical Cyclone Marcia will be one of the key priorities when the Queensland Government resumes the Business Boost program in Rockhampton on Tuesday, 21 April.

An initiative of Queensland’s Department of State Development (DSD), this program will provide small to medium-sized enterprises with workshops, confidential mentoring and benchmarking to develop new skills and plan for growth.

DSD Fitzroy and Central Regional Director Phil Henry said the program, which was to have included workshops in early March, was rescheduled because of the cyclone and will now be offered at no charge to help businesses make improvements to maximise their potential.

“The impact on businesses in the region varied following ex-Tropical Cyclone Marcia, with some businesses suffering considerable damage and loss while others incurred minimal or no damage.

“Regardless of how they were affected, the Queensland Government is keen to support businesses and get communities in the region back on their feet as quickly as possible.

“The Business Boost program incorporates workshops mentoring and benchmarking sessions delivered by a range of experts to guide attendees through development opportunities to equip them with the necessary skills to grow.”

Participants can take part in one or the full series of workshops taking place over the next few months covering:

  • business planning
  • marketing
  • exploring opportunities in the digital economy
  • financial management
  • developing organisational culture and
  • competitive advantage.

Mr Henry said the first Business Boost workshop, ‘Reinvigorate Your Business’ for businesses with more than five employees, was well received in February.

“The workshop provided participants with innovative tools to undertake business model mapping, track where they are generating returns and better understand how to target customers delivering the best profit margins.”

Business Manager Kalair Conaghan of MICOMM, a Central Queensland company, said the workshop and optional confidential mentoring session was worthwhile for local businesses following her experience at the first session.

“It’s helped clarify and confirm several business decisions related to our business management while the mentors adeptly drew out critical information to fully understand issues we are facing in our business.

“The presenters provided a tool for exploring new ways to progress our business… (including) useful examples that would be valuable to businesses from all sectors.”

The next event in the Business Boost workshop series is the ‘Reinvigorate Your Business’ workshop for businesses with less than five employees in Rockhampton on Tuesday, 21 April from 8am to 12pm.

Those wanting to attend are urged to register as soon as possible as places are limited. This is a free workshop.

To register and secure a spot for “Reinvigorate Your Business” visit www.rockhamptontickets.com.au

To see the full Business Boost program or for more information visit www.statedevelopment.qld.gov.au/business-boost or call (07) 4924 2914.

Simonds Stadium A Step Closer To Being A World Class Arena

The Andrews Labor Government is getting on with the job of transforming Simonds Stadium into a world-class arena suited to staging globally-recognised major events.

The Labor Government has already committed to elevating Kardinia Park to trust status – similar to the MCG – so a landmark redevelopment of the ground can begin.

Minister for Sport, Tourism and Major Events, John Eren, today joined Chair of the future Simonds Stadium trust and passionate Cats fan, Steve Bracks, to announce the appointment of an architect and project manager to coordinate stage four of the ground’s redevelopment.

Global design giant, Populous, is a world leader in sporting architecture, responsible for state-of-the-art stadium upgrades at Lord’s, Wimbledon and Margaret Court Arena.

RCP returns to Geelong as project manager of the redevelopment after also coordinating the installation of ground lighting in time for the 2012 AFL season.

The ageing Brownlow and Jennings Stands will be demolished, paving the way for a capacity increase to 36,000. This will strengthen bids by Geelong to host a range of major events, including AFL finals.

The Simonds Stadium upgrade comes as the Labor Government embarks on action to ensure the state remains the major events capital of Australia, by commissioning the Victorian Visitor Economy Review.

Major events are a key driver of Victoria’s tourism, the state’s second largest export behind education. It generates 205,000 jobs and delivers more than $19 billion to the economy annually.

Construction will create 90 jobs, and 320 ongoing positions.

Cuts To Federal Defence Bureaucracy Welcomed

Federal Defence Minister Kevin Andrews announcement that head office jobs in defence procurement will be cut is a step in the right direction according to South Australian Defence Industries Minister Martin Hamilton-Smith.

Mr Hamilton-Smith said defence industry leaders and all those engaged in defence manufacturing had been frustrated for years at cumbersome and lethargic decision making in defence procurement.

“Reforming the Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) and transforming the way business is done in defence procurement is long overdue,” he said.

“What industry needs is quick decision making.

“Billions of dollars worth of Australian business enterprise and tens of thousands of jobs hinge on decisions about submarines, surface ships, aircraft and land combat vehicles and other projects, many of which have been delayed and bungled over these years.”

Mr Hamilton-Smith said the State Government agreed with the findings of the First Principles Review that there had been proliferation of structures, processes and systems with unclear accountabilities, along with institutionalised waste, delayed decisions and flawed decision
making.

“The First Principles Review group, made up of Chairman David Peever, Peter Leahy, Jim McDowell, former Defence Minister Robert Hill and Lindsay Tanner, are to be congratulated for their work,” he said.

“The important thing now is that whatever new structures are forged fixes the problems of the past and result in the right decisions being made in a timely fashion to ensure our defence needs are met as well as those of industry and Australian workers.

“This efficiency measure will result in public service and resources being redirected to other priorities which are good for the nation.

We agree with the Australian Industry Group’s John O’Callaghan and Defence Teaming Centre’s Chris Burns that these DMO reforms are necessary and we commend Defence Minister Kevin Andrews for the reform.”

$273 Million Package To Fix Hunter Roads

The Hunter roads package is set to reduce travel times, improve safety and create valuable local jobs during construction.

The $273 million investment builds on the record investment the NSW Government is already undertaking in the Hunter – taking the total contribution to Hunter infrastructure to more than $1 billion.

The package will be funded by Rebuilding NSW, and will begin in 2015-16.

The package will consist of various road projects, including:

  • $2 million to improve access from University Drive into Newcastle University, Callaghan Campus.
  • $12 million to upgrade the intersections of Pacific Highway and Kahibah Road, and Pacific Highway and Northcott Drive, Highfields.
  • $1.5 million to upgrade the intersection of Griffiths Road and Broadmeadow Road, Broadmeadow.
  • $8 million to upgrade the intersections of Industrial Drive and Tourle Street, and Industrial Drive and Werribi Street, Mayfield.
  • $2 million to build an overtaking lane westbound on the New England Highway between Golden Highway and Singleton, Whittingham.
  • $7 million for 2 additional lanes on the New England Highway between Racecourse Road and Anambah Road, Rutherford.
  • $4 million for planning and pre-construction to widen Hillsborough Road to 4 lanes between Warners Bay and the Newcastle Inner City Bypass.

The Hunter also stands to benefit from other initiatives funded by Rebuilding NSW. These include the $1 billion Water Security Fund, the $600 million allocated to developing regional schools and hospitals and the $2 billion Regional Road Freight Corridor Fund.