Tell us a little about your career path
I started my career at KPMG and had five years there which I loved and as I look back it was a tremendous grounding. From there I moved to Europe and worked for Credit Suisse Group for five years. I then moved to Commonwealth Bank and was there for eight years. I held a variety of roles – running monthly reporting, capital analysis, the planning team, group investment team and built an internal consulting team. I took on the role of CFO for Colonial First State Global Asset Management (part of CBA) and was fortunate to also do a couple of years as an investment manager within the Colonial Infrastructure business. Just prior to the GFC I took a role as CFO for Westpac New Zealand which was a great learning experience and then transferred back to Australia with Westpac to take on the CFO role for BT Financial Group. I did that role for about four years which also included a year running the Superannuation business. That brings me to today where I have been the CFO for Vicinity Centres for the last three years.
Did you always want to be a CFO?
I genuinely had no idea what I wanted to do when I left university and, as you can see from my experience, I have gone in and out of finance roles. The thing I love about CFO roles is you get involved in everything in the business and the interaction with the investor and investment markets. I do love the P&L responsibility of running business roles as well.
FEI started its mentoring program in 2003, with six prominent chief financial officers mentoring aspiring young financial executives from outside their own companies. The program has grown significantly since then. In 2017/18 about 55 companies are involved, with 66 mentees in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
Most of the mentors are the Group CFOs of major companies; in some cases they are divisional CFOs in the largest companies or former CFOs who are now CEOs, COOs, company directors or business unit heads. The companies represented include listed entities, the Australian operations of overseas listed companies, private companies and government-owned companies. Many have been FEI mentors for several years.
The mentees are nominated by a senior executive (normally the Group CFO) of a company that supports our membership and mentoring program. These companies are usually major companies in Australia.