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A Treasury for the Future: Organisational Change and Treasury's Capability

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Introduction

Thank you all for coming tonight. It’s a pleasure to have the opportunity to talk about the organisational challenges facing Treasury and the actions we have been taking in response.

The Treasury has a long history, beginning in 1901 with five bookkeepers. Over the past century, we have grown to a peak of just over 1000 staff in March 2011, but now have to shed one in three positions by 2016-17. Our role has also evolved to be one of three central policy agencies and the only agency responsible for anticipating and analysing policy issues from a whole-of-economy perspective. Our advice is based on the premise that we have no objective apart from improving the wellbeing of Australians.

For us to be able to do that, we have to be an organisation that values diversity of thought and willingly engages with people outside the Treasury.

That’s really why I’m here – we want to be open to sharing what we’ve learned and what we’ve experienced. I am here because we want people – stakeholders and others – to understand that we want to engage and hear your perspectives and to learn from your experiences.

The world is changing and Treasury is responding

The fact that the global landscape – economic, geo-strategic and demographic – is changing is not news.

The domestic economic, social and political landscape is also undergoing historic structural change, which is partly reflective of broader global changes, and partly unique to our national context.

From an organisational perspective, one of the changes pressing on us is the rising expectation the public has of government and, in turn, the Government has of the public sector. There’s a growing gap between what the community expects from government, and what government can sustainably provide. That, of course, impacts on what is expected of the public service.

Across the public service, we are being asked to do more with less. There are expectations on us to engage differently with business and the broader community – to better understand and incorporate their perspectives into our policy analysis and development. There are pressures to which the public service in general – and the Treasury specifically – must respond.

This obviously isn’t new to the Treasury. Thinking about our operating environment and the necessity of change is something we have been doing for some time now. Indeed, any organisation – whether public or private – must do so in order to survive.

Soon after becoming Secretary to the Treasury, I thought it appropriate for us to step back and ask ourselves how well-equipped we were for this changing environment. The Treasury had been through an incredibly intense period during the GFC and was still feeling the effects. A close look at Treasury was required to help us refresh and renew. As a result, we undertook the Strategic Review and Women in the Treasury projects.

The Strategic Review assessed our capabilities vis-a-vis the external environment, and asked whether our frameworks and skills should be augmented.

The Women in the Treasury review was motivated by the concern that, while at least half of our APS-level employees are women, Treasury has long had a low proportion of women in our leadership group. We wanted to get to the bottom of this imbalance, trying to understand the barriers to the recruitment, retention and progression of women.

The results were confronting but, in general, pointed to the fact that there was not one single problem with an obvious solution but, rather, a range of subtle cultural, attitudinal and behavioural issues that require time and persistence to change.

In response, we implemented the Progressing Women initiative, comprising a holistic and systematic suite of strategies, which included:

  • Setting a target for female representation in the SES of around 35 per cent by 2016, and over 40 per cent in the longer term;
  • Establishing the Inclusive Workplace Committee, with internal and external members, which I chair. I have delegated all my decision-making powers regarding diversity issues to this group;
  • Mainstreaming flexible working arrangements within the Treasury – we have committed to an “if not, why not?” approach, whereby staff may change their working arrangements unless there is a clear business reason why that would not be suitable.
  • Providing unrecognised bias awareness training to staff; and
  • Making the measurement and reporting of gender diversity a regular practice, including as part of our reporting to staff on recruitment, promotion and performance assessment.

The Capability Review

Moving forward to mid-2013, the Australian Public Service Commission sponsored a Capability Review of the Treasury, led by Dr Michael Vertigan. As many of you would be aware, these reviews are designed to be relatively short and sharp, and take a high-level view of capability across all operations of the agency, capturing an organisation’s potential to achieve outcomes, the effectiveness with which outcomes are achieved and the quality of outputs and outcomes.

For us, this was an opportunity to draw together and assess what we’d already started doing in response to our previous reviews – a kind of ‘in-flight course check’.

The Review taskforce interviewed a large range of people, both within Treasury and across a number of our key stakeholder groups.

It concluded that the Treasury is a high-performing department with a strong track record and capabilities in demand from the government of the day.

However, it also highlighted that the Treasury will need to continue to change if we are to be successful in the future given our changing environment.

The Review found that Treasury has strongly motivated and highly capable staff, with a commitment to rigorous analysis and quality outputs. It also found that Treasury has a strong record of policy innovation and implementation.

However, the Review identified four areas on which we need to focus as we go forward:

  • We need to find better ways to manage and monitor Treasury’s priorities and performance. Although we produce very high-calibre output and perform well, this can often be because of the dedication of our staff and strong culture of excellence, rather than due to having systematic processes that manage our organisational performance.
  • As I noted, we are currently shrinking from over 1000 people by shedding around one in three positions. We have already shed about 15 per cent of staff, so we are half way there. Clearly, since we don’t control the responsibilities given to us by Government, change of this magnitude means delivering similar outcomes in a very different manner. In the past, our response to increased demands was to increase our efforts: by working harder and longer. Needless to say, this is not sustainable, and it also crowds out any attempts to think differently – and smarter – about prioritising our resources.
  • We also need to work more on collaborating and engaging with others. This is something we have been working on since the Strategic Review, with the Capability Review finding that we had made a significant investment in improving engagement with stakeholders. However, these skills still need to be developed more broadly across the Treasury, and embedded into everything we do.
  • Finally, we need to get better at leading and managing change while adapting and innovating our way of working. Our Senior Executive Service, in particular, is going to have to concentrate more on leading organisational change and culture in the future, building on their pre-existing strengths as policy advisers.

In order to address these challenges, we h
ave put together our ‘Capability Action Plan’. This consists of four work streams, which broadly correspond to the four focus areas and are owned by various Senior Executive Service sponsors throughout the Treasury. In large part, these work streams build on work we have already begun by way of the previous two reviews I outlined earlier. In fact, we’ve been able to build on a key lesson from Progressing Women that this is not just a collection of projects, but a systematic program looking to change our organisational culture.

Treasury’s challenges and progress

One of the key takeaways from these three reviews is that the Treasury faces a number of substantial challenges – related to both our internal culture and the external environment. And we are evolving to face these challenges.

However, if I have learned one thing during my time in senior leadership positions, and particularly as Secretary of the Department of Climate Change and now as Secretary to the Treasury, it is that the journey of cultural change is long and complex. As flagged in the Capability Review, we still have a lot to do regarding engaging better with our stakeholders, as well as resource allocation and prioritisation. Diversity and inclusivity, whether considered through a gender lens or more broadly, must continue be a focus.

These are issues that are long-entrenched within the Treasury, with our history shaping our behaviours and attitudes – sometimes for the better, and sometimes to our detriment. But our challenges are not intractable, and we are bringing the same determination and commitment we give to formulating economic policy to enhancing our own organisational capabilities.

I would like now to spend a little time on the changes we have already seen – what we have been doing well and where we have been making progress.

We still have a long way to go regarding Progressing Women and furthering diversity in general. However, there are signs of progress. We have our first female Senior Executive Service Band 3 Executive Director… although it only took us 112 years.

While the Government’s interim recruitment arrangements are going to make it harder to see women – or anyone, for that matter – progress through to leadership positions, we have seen some increase in female representation in our Senior Executive Service (SES) – with women currently accounting for around 30 per cent of our SES, up from 23 per cent in March 20111. Women also account for almost 50 per cent of Executive Level 2 (EL2) staff (those in the feeder group to the SES), up from 38 per cent over same period.

Furthermore, the Department is thinking about diversity in a much more nuanced way than we did a few years ago – considering decisions from the perspective of inclusiveness is becoming a part of standard practice.

It was encouraging to see recently that a number of staff involved in the Financial System Inquiry chose to continue to work flexibly while on the secretariat. In the past, this sort of opportunity may not have been contemplated by staff who work flexible hours or with principal carer commitments. Indeed, participation would probably have been discouraged by managers and secretariat heads.

As I mentioned earlier, one of the pleasing surprises of the Capability Review was its finding that we were not only strong in innovation in IT but also at policy innovation and implementation.

The Treasury is often innovative in our core areas of economic forecasting and developing the Budget. But forecasting is notoriously difficult! So, in last year’s Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Outlook, we presented the confidence intervals around our headline economic growth forecasts – giving some indication of the uncertainty around our forecasts. This is something we had not done in the past, but thought it necessary to increase the transparency and public understanding of our forecasts and the economic environment.

While we have managed to deliver a Federal Budget every year without fail, there are other things we have managed to deliver that wouldn’t normally be considered our core business.

For example, following the collapse in 2001 of HIH – Australia’s second largest insurer at the time – the Treasury was instrumental in managing the initial fallout and creating the HIH Claims Support Scheme. Over the past twelve years we have essentially run an insurance company that has paid out assistance to almost 11,000 claims, with the last claim being settled in June 2013. This decade-long process has been recognised externally as a clear demonstration of our ability to deal with an operational undertaking as comprehensively as any policy matter.

And, just last month, we successfully delivered the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting in Sydney. In addition to developing the policy agenda, activities undertaken also included sourcing appropriate meeting and accommodation venues, managing the event logistics and transport, building quality IT solutions and media management for over 300 media – not typically things one associates with a Treasury!

That said, there can often be a feeling that Treasury is insular, that we do not value the perspectives of those outside the organisation. And there has often been good reason for people to form this opinion – the Treasury was notoriously closed in the 1970s and early 1980s. It is common to see Treasury criticised even today, though, as ‘close-minded’ and ‘not understanding business’. While we can always be better and more active in engaging with business, I reject categorically the view that we simply don’t understand business.

The Treasury is a much more diverse organisation now in terms of work experience and subject matter expertise than we have been at any point in the past. Around a fifth of our current SES and EL2 staff have significant private sector experience – mainly in the finance and accounting sector, but also in consultancies, academic research, the legal sector, and as principals of their own businesses.

We are also developing our skill base and networks by actively seeking out opportunities to share staff with other organisations. We currently have 14 staff seconded into Treasury from other public sector organisations such as the ATO, Reserve Bank, Attorney-General’s, and even the New Zealand Treasury. Furthermore, we have ten private sector secondees from Boston Consulting Group, Deloitte, Ernst and Young, PWC, Oliver Wyman and Rio Tinto working within the Treasury to help us in tax design and implementation, at the Board of Taxation secretariat, on the Financial System Inquiry secretariat, as well as private sector staff working on the Competition Review.

We also currently have 18 staff seconded out to other parts of the public sector including to the Reserve Bank, the ATO, the ANU Tax and Transfer Policy Institute and the Departments of Social Services, Communications, Prime Minister and Cabinet, and Foreign Affairs and Trade. We also have Treasury staff working at BHP Billiton and the Australian Bankers Association and we will shortly be renewing our secondment arrangement with the Business Council of Australia. We are in the process of organising secondments to the four major banks and have previously had secondees at Rio Tinto. I am very keen to encourage more two-way exchanges.

Further, since 2007, we have Australian Treasury officials seconded to Indonesia’s Fiscal Policy Agency, reflecting innovative approaches we have taken to international engagement.  We currently have three of our staff working closely with their Indonesian counterparts on a range of fiscal policy issues in Jakarta. As a sign of the maturity of this relationship, a reciprocal arrangement is currently being developed with the
Fiscal Policy Agency to second one of their officers to Treasury. This engagement is reflective of broader relationships Treasury has in the region, including similar secondments of officials to ministries of finance in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.

A large part of my job is being the external face of Treasury where I present and participate at a number of events – public speeches, presentations, boardroom lunches and dinners – and hear from a wide variety of stakeholders. In the past year, I have done around 36 of these sorts of events and this doesn’t count the numerous one-on-one meetings I have with business people, academics and community representatives.

Moreover, many former Treasury staff have gone on to senior positions in business here and overseas – to cite just a few examples, former Secretaries Ted Evans and Tony Cole chaired Westpac and Mercer (a human resource consulting firm) respectively, while former Deputy Secretaries David Morgan and John Fraser became CEOs of Westpac and UBS AG. And there are many others, suggesting that the claim we’re naïve about business is hard to justify. That said, it is no secret that I would like Treasury to be represented in Sydney and possibly other capitals to deepen further our links with business large and small, and with community groups and other stakeholders.

We talk to business and subject area experts outside Treasury on an almost daily basis in order to inform the development of policy. Often it is too late to start consulting once the Government of the day publicly announces a policy position, and so we need to be pro-active in our discussions with others.

A recent example of this proactive engagement was in the context of announced but un-enacted tax measures in late 2013. The backlog of taxation decisions that had been announced by Government but not passed through the Parliament had increased to almost 100 measures, some dating back to the Howard Government. Clearly, this was a problem in need of a prompt and effective solution.

Treasury, with significant assistance from the Board of Taxation, undertook targeted confidential consultation with key stakeholders across the country. These consultations gave us more clarity on how stakeholders viewed the relative importance of different measures and how best to provide greater tax policy certainty, which we then used to better inform the Government in our advice. While the decisions to not proceed with around two-thirds of the measures ultimately rested with Government, the value of stakeholder consultation to Treasury’s advice and the subsequent decision-making processes should not be underestimated.

Despite this, the charge of not listening is probably an occupational hazard for all public servants. None of us can publicise what advice we have given, so what can appear to be our ‘not listening’ may, at times, be that the advice provided – advice influenced, both positively and negatively, by a range of external input – was not accepted by the ultimate decision-maker.

Overall, maybe part of the problem is not that the Treasury has not changed, but that we need to do a better job of communicating how we have evolved as an organisation, even while acknowledging that there is still a way for us to go.

As part of our plans to drive further organisational change, we have also just established an Australian Treasury Advisory Council. This group of respected leaders will make up a governance and advisory board for me that will help replicate the discipline provided by a private sector governance board. I am pleased to be able to announce that the inaugural members of the Council are:

  • Ms Elizabeth Bryan – currently Chair of Caltex;
  • Ms Tracey Horton – former Dean of University of Western Australia Business School and currently Non-Executive Director, Skilled Group and President of the WA Chamber of Commerce and Industry;
  • Ms Belinda Hutchinson – currently Chair of QBE and Chancellor of Sydney University;
  • Ms Akiko Jackson – a management consultant in the financial services industry;
  • Mr Kevin McCann – currently Chair of Macquarie Group;
  • Dr Michael Vertigan – who has had a long and illustrious career in the public sector and academia; and
  • Mr Gabriel Makhlouf – the New Zealand Treasury Secretary.

Short biographies on each member and the Council’s Terms of Reference have been posted on the Treasury website.

I think this is an exciting innovation and one which other APS organisations may also find valuable. It is also an example of not needing to reinvent the wheel, as our approach is modelled on the experience of our New Zealand counterparts. Both the Australian and New Zealand Treasuries want to improve, hence the cross-membership of our ATAC and the New Zealand Treasury Advisory Board of Secretary Makhlouf and me.

Conclusion

I originally joined the Treasury in the early 1980s. I have stayed for 34 years because of the challenge and excitement of helping shape the Australian economic landscape and improving the wellbeing of all Australians.

That challenge and the excitement it brings have not lessened over that time. In fact, they have expanded to include improving the quality of our outputs and outcomes by affording the organisation a much greater focus. And developing an organisation means developing and empowering people.

But cultural change takes time and continued leadership at all levels of the organisation. Yet this is a non-negotiable journey if Treasury wants to maintain its reputation as one of the premier policy institutions in the country. Undergoing change always presents risks, but the risk of remaining static, untouched by time and change, is untenable.

Thank you.


Australian Treasury Advisory Council: Terms of Reference

This Terms of Reference sets out the role, responsibilities and composition of the Australian Treasury Advisory Council (‘the ATAC’).

The Treasury’s mission

The Treasury’s mission is to improve the wellbeing of the Australian people by providing sound and timely advice to the Government, based on objective and thorough analysis of options, and by assisting Treasury Ministers in the administration of their responsibilities and the implementation of Government decision.

Purpose

The ATAC is a governance, advisory body that exists to support the Secretary to the Treasury (‘the Secretary’) in ensuring that the Treasury’s organisational strategy, capability and performance make the best possible contribution to the achievement of its mission statement. In doing so, it will help ensure that the Treasury functions as effectively and efficiently as possible now and is well-positioned for the future.

The role and operating practice of the ATAC may evolve over time. This Terms of Reference may be updated periodically to reflect this.

Role

The ATAC is an advisory body and is not a decision-making body.

Role of the ATAC

  • To replicate the discipline provided by a private sector governance Board as far as possible by providing additional perspective and external expertise to the Secretary;
  • To provide advice on strategic, organisational governance issues that are of the highest significance or reputational impact for the Treasury;
  • To participate in processes which lead to setting organisational strategy by the Secretary and which aim to build organisational capability;
  • To help ensure that the Treasury’s policy and operational functions are of a high quality and help assess organisational performance; and
  • To provide a report annually to the Treasurer and the report will be published as part of the Treasury Annual Report.

Responsibilities of ATAC members

  • Members of the ATAC will:
  • be personally committed to ensuring tha
    t the Treasury meets its organizational strategic objectives (mission statement and vision);
  • draw on their own experience and expertise to inform their advice;
  • not comment on or represent the Treasury’s view(s) externally;
  • not be involved in internal management/operational decisions;
  • not be involved in the nature of Treasury’s policy advice;
  • listen to, and engage effectively with, people of different levels throughout the department; and
  • prepare for, and fully and frankly participate in ATAC meetings.

The Secretary and the Treasury Executive Board will remain responsible for the management of, and decision-making surrounding, Treasury’s strategic operational and policy environments.

The ATAC can:

  • request any information it requires from any employee or external party (subject to any constraints of privileged or classified information) in order to become more familiar with issues of relevance to the Treasury’s strategic operations; and
  • meet with the Treasurer.

This authority derives from the Secretary.

Composition

The ATAC is comprised of the Secretary to the Treasury (who is Chair of the ATAC), the Executive Director, Policy Coordination and Governance, and a minimum of three, and up to seven, external members. The external members will be appointed by the Secretary, who sets their terms of engagement.

The external members will be appointed because of their strong track record and experience in corporate governance and management, preferably as the head of an organisation – whether in Australia or internationally. External members will also understand the complexity of issues that affect the public service and appreciate the Treasury’s mission statement.

Treasury will meet travel expenses of the external members.

External members will be appointed for a period of two years unless otherwise agreed with the Secretary. Their appointment will be made public.

As and when existing external members of the ATAC come up for reappointment, the Secretary will re-evaluate the skills and experienced desired of external members to reflect the challenges and issues facing the Treasury.

The Chair will provide overall leadership to the ATAC and will ensure the ATAC meetings are productive. The Chair will set the forward agenda for the meetings, to be discussed with the ATAC collectively.

Administrative arrangements

Meetings

The ATAC will meet quarterly. If necessary, the Chair may determine to call additional meetings.

Secretariat

The Treasury’s Corporate Strategy and Services Group will provide secretariat support to the ATAC and will be responsible for taking minutes of ATAC meetings.

The Secretariat will ensure:

  • the agenda for each meeting is approved by the Chair and is circulated at least one week before the meeting; and
  • the minutes of the meetings are prepared and maintained.

Planning

The Secretariat will, in consultation with and subject to approval of the Chair, develop a forward meeting schedule that includes the dates, location, and proposed agenda items for each meeting for the forthcoming year.

Induction

New members will receive relevant information and briefings on their appointment to the ATAC from the Chair and/or the ATAC Secretariat to assist them to meet their responsibilities. They will also be asked to sign a confidentiality statement to cover all ATAC information, discussions, and any information to which members may have incidental access, as well as declare any real, potential and perceived conflict of interest.

Review

In order to maximise its effectiveness, the ATAC will evaluate its remit and performance annually.


Australian Treasury Advisory Council (ATAC) – Member Bios

Elizabeth Bryan

Elizabeth Bryan is an experienced company director who has had a successful career spanning both the private and public sectors. She is currently the Chairman of Caltex Australia and a member of the Board of Westpac. She also serves as a member of the Takeovers Panel, the Powerhouse Museum, and the Director Advisory Panel to ASIC.

She has previously served as the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Deutsche Asset Management (Australia) Limited and its predecessor organization, NSW State Superannuation Investment and Management Corporation, for six years. She has also served as the Chairman of UniSuper Limited and as a director for the Ridley Corporation, Western Metals and Westpac New Zealand.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Australian National University, Australia and Master of Economics from the University of Hawaii, USA.

Tracey Horton

BEc (Hons) (UWA), MBA (Stanford), Emeritus Professor (UWA)

Tracey Horton has greater than twenty five years of international experience in leadership and senior management, and as an economist and management consultant.

Tracey is currently a Non-Executive Director for SKILLED Group, Navitas Limited and Automotive Holdings Group. In addition to these corporate roles, Tracey participates in community activities as Chair of Council of Presbyterian Ladies College, President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (WA) and Chairman of Perth Fashion Concepts Incorporated. She is an advisor to Bain & Company.

Tracey initially began her career in Sydney with the Reserve Bank of Australia after graduating from The University of Western Australia (UWA). After completing her MBA at Stanford University in California, Tracey spent the next several years working for the international management consulting firm, Bain & Company, where she provided strategic and management advice to many international clients in the technology, retail and utility sectors.

Tracey returned to Perth in 2000, as a Director at Poynton and Partners and GEM Consulting. She joined the University of Western Australia in mid-2004 and was Dean of the Business School until August 2011 when she left UWA and was awarded the life-time title of Emeritus Professor.

Belinda Hutchinson AM

Belinda Hutchinson is Chairman of QBE Insurance Group (retiring 31 March 2014), a Director of AGL Energy and Australian Philanthropic Services, Chancellor of the University of Sydney and a Member of the Federal Government Financial Services Advisory Council.

She has previously served on the boards of Telstra Corporation, Coles Myer, Crane Group, Energy Australia, TAB, Snowy Hydro Trading, State Library of NSW and Sydney Water. Her executive career included her role as an Executive Director of Macquarie Group, a Vice President of Citibank and a Senior Manager at Anderson Consulting.

She holds a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Sydney and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Akiko Jackson

Ms. Akiko Jackson is a senior executive with deep and broad financial services experience. She has worked in both strategy and line roles for large financial institutions in Australia, Japan and the U.S. for more than twenty years. She is currently an independent management consultant with a focus on large-scale corporate transformational change management, strategy development/execution and risk management.

Her experience includes leading strategy team and running incubator businesses for Commonwealth Bank of Australia and implementing transformational changes such as post-merger integration and new risk management implementation for Westpac as well as turning around Corporate Banking business and coordinating Initial Public Offering for Shinsei Bank. Ms. Jackson has a management consulting background combined with diverse line roles encompassing product development, sales force management, and process and system management.

She recently chaired the capability review of the Departme
nt of Veterans’ Affairs and was a senior reviewer for the capability review of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship and the Australian Customs and Border Protection.

Her academic background is in business administration (M.B.A., Stanford University, 1993) and in law (B.Law, Keio University, 1987). Ms. Jackson is a Fulbright scholar and a member of Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Gabriel Makhlouf

Chief Executive and Secretary
The New Zealand Treasury

Gabriel Makhlouf is Secretary to the New Zealand Treasury and its Chief Executive.  He is the Government’s chief economic and financial adviser.

The Treasury’s responsibilities include overall economic policy and the Government’s fiscal strategy.  It prepares the Government’s annual budget and concentrates its policy work on areas that have a significant impact on the economy, with a focus on removing barriers to growth and supporting increased productivity.  The Treasury also monitors the performance of the Government’s commercial interests, has responsibility for managing New Zealand’s sovereign debt and has oversight of the quality of New Zealand’s regulatory system.  Its latest long-term projections (40 years+) of the Government’s fiscal position will be published later this year.

Gabriel’s career was previously in the UK civil service where his responsibilities ranged from policy development on domestic and international tax and welfare policy issues through to large-scale, customer-focused, operational delivery.  He was Chair of the world’s main tax rule-making body – the Committee on Fiscal Affairs – at the OECD in Paris between 2000-2004 and was also responsible for the UK’s Government Banking Service.  He led the UK team that negotiated the current US/UK double tax treaty and served as Principal Private Secretary to the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Gordon Brown). 

Gabriel has a BA (honours) degree in economics and an MSc in industrial relations.  He is an alumni of INSEAD’s Advanced Management Programme.

H Kevin McCann AM

Independent Non-executive Chairman and Director

Kevin is Chairman of Macquarie Group Limited and Macquarie Bank Limited and Fellow of the Senate of the University of Sydney, Director of Evans and Partners Pty Ltd, The United States Studies Centre, John Grill Centre for Project Leadership; Sydney Institute of Marine Science (SIMS). He is also a member of the Senior Business Leaders Forum, a group of Chairs and CEO’s which have bi annual dialogue with Chinese counterparts.

Current community activities include Chair of the National Library of Australia Foundation and a Member of the Advisory Council to the Australian British Chamber of Commerce and Male Champions of Change (MCC), a member of the Corporate Governance Committee of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) and advisory Board of John Grill Centre for Project Leadership.

Previously Chairman or a director of a number of companies listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, including: Chairman of Origin Energy Limited (2000-2013), Healthscope Ltd, ING Management Limited (manager of five listed property trusts), Triako Resources Limited; Macquarie Communications Limited, a director of BlueScope Steel Limited; Pioneer International Ltd, Ampol Ltd, Ampolex Ltd; GRW Properties Limited; The Hospital Contributions Fund of Australia Limited (HCF); Orogen Minerals Limited.

Prior community and public sector activities included: Chairman Sydney Harbour Federation Trust, member of the Defence Procurement Advisory Board, State Rail Authority of New South Wales, Takeovers Panel and a member of the Council of the National Library of Australia, NSW President and a member of the Board of the AICD, Chair of the Corporate Governance Committee of the AICD. He was a part time lecturer in law of University of New South Wales in Resource and International Law and for the Law Extension Committee at the University of Sydney in Personal Property.

Kevin practiced as a commercial lawyer as a partner of Allens Arthur Robinson (and its predecessor firm Allen Allen & Hemsley) from 1970 to 2004 and was Chairman of Partners from 1995 to 2004. He specialised in Resource Law, Mergers and Acquisitions and Corporate Advice and Equity Capital Markets.

Kevin has a Bachelor of Arts and Law (Honours) from Sydney University and a Master of Law from Harvard University. He is a Fellow of the AICD.

He was made a Member of the Order of Australia for services to the Law, Business and the Community in 2005.

He resides in Sydney.

Dr Mike Vertigan AC

Michael is currently Chair of the Board of the Australian Maritime College and a director of the Commonwealth Superannuation Fund and Aurora Energy.  He is a former senior public servant having successively been Secretary of the Department of Premier and Cabinet (Tasmania) and the Departments of Treasury and Finance in both Tasmania and Victoria. 

Since 1998 Michael has held a wide range of board and advisory roles in listed and unlisted companies, government business enterprises and not-for-profit organisations in finance and investment, energy and infrastructure and education. 

Dr Vertigan holds an honours degree in economics from the University of Tasmania and a PhD from the University of California (Berkeley).  He is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and of the Institute of Public Administration of Australia and was made a Companion of the Order of Australia in 2004.


1 An increase from 20 to 27 female substantive SES (30 per cent), and from 21 to 31 if we include those in acting arrangements (33 per cent of all SES).