Sharing lunch with old friend

Sharing lunch with old friend

Looks like relations between write-down king Tom Albanese (right) and his former employer, Rio Tinto, aren't that bad after all.

Albanese, who was forced out of the top gig at Rio in January, sat at the Anglo-Australian giant's table during this month's Melbourne Mining Club dinner at Lords cricket ground in London.

But it could be some time before they next break bread together. Albanese is expected to relocate with his wife from London to the US sometime this year.

Waiting on Hendo

Sydney Institute boss Gerard Henderson is still to respond to CBD's questions about his talking shop's 2012 financial accounts (CBD, Friday) - although he did find time to take a slap at The Age's business section on his blog. (Memo Hendo: BusinessDay's the name of the section and it has been running for some time now.)

But even absent Henderson's guidance, the accounts are an invaluable source of answers to questions nobody ever asks, like: "Who is more popular, Julia Gillard or Melvyn Bragg?"

The answer is Gillard - 850 people attended her Sydney Institute Lecture in 2011, compared to 650 who fronted for arts guru Bragg at the same event in 2012.

Dusted off

They parted ways once the dreadful deed was done. Banned from corporate life, the former office bearers of James Hardie scattered on the wind like fine asbestos dust.

CBD has followed the tracks of the Hardie boardroom denizens, banned by ASIC in 2009 for approving a misleading 2001 statement that claimed a foundation set up by the company to compensate asbestos victims was fully funded. Years after Hardie, some are still doing little. But others are back in business.

Chairman Meredith Hellicar's ban expired on April 30 and, as CBD reported last Monday, she is now a director at transport company BagTrans. US-based non-executive director Michael Gillfillan (ban expired December 31, 2012) has been running Alabama-based AloStar Bank of Commerce since 2011 and has been a director of MPG Office Trust since 2009 (Australian bans have no effect in the US). In the same boat is Martin Koffel, whose ban expired at the same time. He remains global boss of engineering consultant URS Corporation, for which he is paid $US10 million a year.

Before the fall, Australian Peter Willcox (ban expired March 31) sat on the boards of North Ltd, Telstra, Symbion, MLC and Australian Eagle Life. He now has no directorships. Michael Brown (ban expired April 30) was also a boardroom regular, including at Iluka and the now-deregistered Royal Blind Society of NSW, and also has no Australian directorships.

It appears that Greg Terry (ban expired April 30), who was once a director of Ansett, Air New Zealand, Credit Suisse Australia and Hong Kong's Jardine Matheson Holdings, returned to Singapore. His address, as given in ASIC records, is a very nice spread close by the Singapore Polo Club.

CBD couldn't locate chief executive Peter Macdonald, whose ban doesn't expire until 2024. His last known address, in Californian enclave Orange County, is listed as having sold in 2011 for US$2.82 million.

But Geoffrey O'Brien was easier to find. His ban expired on April 30, and since May 10 he's been a director of Hydration Pharmaceuticals, which makes electrolyte drink Hydralyte, and Woobinda Nominees.

The ban on Peter Shafron, who was company secretary and chief legal officer in 2001, doesn't expire until 2016. Shafron left Hardie in 2004 and these days runs a small video-making company with his wife out of their home in suburban Los Angeles.

Your Story Here makes biographies and memorials and, according to its website, has "delighted hundreds of customers and their families and friends with our careful and caring video production".

Careful and caring: two words you won't often see when people are talking about James Hardie.

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