Brewery board's sporting lessons

The board of the world's second-largest brewer, SABMiller, received a history lesson in cricket and Aussie Rules at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Wednesday night.

The board of the world's second-largest brewer, SABMiller, received a history lesson in cricket and Aussie Rules at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Wednesday night.

SAB executive chairman Graham Mackay, CEO-elect Alan Clark and more than a dozen fellow directors turned up at the 'G for a night to taste their favourite tipples.

More important, they also got the lowdown on those funny ball games from big wigs from key suppliers and customers including Linfox executive chairman Peter Fox.

It is the first time the South African company's board has visited Australia since the brewer's $12.3 billion takeover of Foster's in late 2011.

The night capped off a two-day board meeting in Melbourne, which included a trip to test the grog at what is now SAB's biggest Australian brewery in Abbotsford.

Two unnamed board members managed to fly in a few days early. It was good timing because their arrival just happened to coincide with the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park on Sunday.

Foes calm down

The sight of economists stoushing is one of the world's wonders - spectacles askew, leather elbow patches flying, textbooks torn. So it is with great disappointment that CBD reports an outbreak of peace between two of Australia's most distinguished dismal scientists.

Hostilities between left-wing economist John Quiggin and right-wing counterpart Sinclair Davidson broke out last week over which was the bigger drain on taxpayer funds.

It all started on Wednesday when Davidson took aim at the $2 million over six years Quiggin is receiving under the Australian Laureate Program to study "Black swans and unknown unknowns: financial markets and their interaction with the macro-economy in the presence of unanticipated contingencies".

Or, in other words, what regulators can do to stop a repeat of the GFC.

"Looks like the taxpayer will be paying out over $2 million for radical ideas that [are] already known and apparently already command support," Davidson said on his blog, Catallaxy Files.

Quiggin hit back the same day, pointing out Davidson receives "a taxpayer funded salary of at least $150K" from RMIT, where he is a professor. "So, let's see who is goofing off on the taxpayer dollar," Quiggin blogged.

He accused Davidson of providing far fewer scholarly papers produced per taxpayer dollar.

Not so, Davidson replied, saying he had put out oodles of papers and book chapters.

It was on. In duelling posts, Quiggin accused Davidson of publishing in "low-grade journals" while Davidson said Quiggin had been "caught out fabricating my research output".

Sadly, tempers cooled over the weekend. On Monday, Quiggin posted the peace treaty to his blog.

"I've had a discussion with Sinclair Davidson at Catallaxy and we've agreed not to engage in personal attacks on each other," he said.

Davidson confirmed the terms of the deal to CBD.

Well left, Brett

APN News and Media's shareholders have a long wait before they find out exactly what former boss Brett Chenoweth took home when he departed the publisher almost a month ago.

Although APN found room in its annual report, released on Friday, to squeeze in details about the forced departures - sorry, resignations - of Chenoweth and most of its board including chairman Peter Hunt, it did not have the space to put a number on the former CEO's final cheque.

But APN has since confirmed that Chenoweth will be regarded as a "good leaver". It means he will be entitled to a year's fixed pay of $1.5 million (plus leave entitlements and about $150,000 for the first six weeks of the new year).

Although short and long-term incentives are built into his contract, the surfer and follower of media regulation is almost certain to miss out on any bonus payments.

Chenoweth's final cheque will come in addition to a total package of $1.59 million for the year to last December, a slight increase on the year prior. It included $95,404 in non-monetary benefits. Shareholders will get a final number on Chenoweth's departure cheque in March next year.

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