Daniel Lucas

Former CFO, now Head of People at WaterNSW

Daniel Lucas, Former CFO, now Head of People at WaterNSW - FEI CFO Mentor

What would you say is the best business book ever read, and why?

I’m a real fan of most things that Daniel Goleman has written. I loved the book he did with Annie McKee called Primal Leadership: Realising the Power of Emotional Intelligence.

Can you share a personal productivity tip?

Exercise and get plenty of sleep. I make sure I get catch up naps on weekends.

Tell us about your career path

I’ve had a very varied career path. I had a solid beginning in the profession with Deloitte in Sydney and London. Then I spent eight years in strategy and M&A with Elders IXL in London and New York. Then 10 years with Unilever in Sydney and Brussels before returning to Australia and a couple of public company CFO roles. Then I’ve spent the last 10 years in energy and water industry. The last six years or so I have had corporate service type roles with HR, legal, comms , procurement, risk and ICT.

And your education?

I grew up on a farm in rural NSW and went to the local primary school before boarding at high school in Sydney. Then at Sydney Uni doing Ag Economics followed by a Bachelor of Business at UTS. Then I did the Professional Year with Deloitte.

As a child what did you want to be when you grew up?

A sports commentator.

What has been a career high?

Working on big M&A transactions with lots of really smart people.

Any lows?

My second public company CFO role which lasted only for about five months.

How has the CFO role changed over the last decade?

Over last 30 years it’s gone from accounting and backwards looking, then to strategic partnering and decision support. Now it has gone back to a bit more compliance and risk focussed.

What further changes do you anticipate?

CFOs need to be better leaders, developers and inspirers of people and better communicators.

How far out can a CFO plan, given the pace of change at present?

About five years.

And what are the implications of that planning horizon?

I believe given the pace of change plans need to be dynamic and have more than one path to the overall goal.

Why do you mentor?

I really enjoy seeing people grow and develop. I’m a strong believer in everyone being themselves but being able to be better, much better. It’s about coaxing and helping people to see it.

What was the best advice you ever received?

Don’t try and race up the ladder. Take sideways moves to develop a wider range of experiences and capabilities. Be able to play well with every club in the golf bag not just a few.

How do you switch off?

Long distance ocean swimming. I can meditate and almost fall asleep!

What’s your favorite piece of technology for work?

None.

What’s your favourite piece of technology for play?

My Garmin watch which logs all sorts of things about my swims.

What are you reading now?

The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

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