David Malek

CFO, Brisbane Airport Corporation

David Malek, CFO, Brisbane Airport Corporation - FEI CFO Mentor

Tell us a little about your career path

I started my career with EY in the corporate finance team in Brisbane before heading to London, where I worked for Nomura, and later HSBC, in investment banking, in M&A and equity capital markets. After almost five years in London, I returned to Australia with my family and briefly joined Deloitte before taking my first corporate role at Energy Developments covering all aspects of corporate finance and treasury. I joined Brisbane Airport late 2013 and the rest is, as they say, history.

And your education?

I completed my Bachelor in Business Management at the University of Maine in the USA whilst on a basketball scholarship. I also completed a Master of Applied Finance and an MBA in Economics and Finance from Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Brisbane.

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

An architect.

What keeps you awake at night?

If not my kids, nothing really. If I have any issues, I try and deal with it in the moment. If I can’t deal with it, I leave it for the following day.

What has been a career high?

Seeing former staff go onto great things in their career and my first role as CFO.

Any lows?

During the global financial crisis I worked in London and there were many lows and lessons during that time.

How has the CFO role changed over the last decade?

CFOs are more strategic and commercial in their roles. They have a strong focus on collaboration across the business, working as a strategic partner to help drive the right outcomes. 

What further changes do you anticipate?

Dealing with disruption such as digital and cyber security. It’s hard to say if CFOs will ever be replaced by robots or artificial intelligence but I don’t think we have seen the full impact and power of robots or AI. 

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

Three to five years with a certain degree of confidence. Given the rate of change in the current environment the confidence level of your assumptions will reduce. CFOs need to have a strategy that can be dynamic and covers technology, processes and people.

Who was your most influential mentor?

I have a few. From my basketball coach to my last manager, who is now the CFO of Ausgrid. They were all influential at different stages of my life and career. 

What was the best advice you ever received?

The goal at work isn’t to be liked but rather to be respected.

Who are your heroes?

My mum and dad – they left Czechoslovakia at the height of communism with two kids (my brother and I) and two suitcases to start a whole new life in Australia.

What are you reading now?

The Dr Seuss classics with my three kids – tonight it was Green Eggs and Ham. But the best business book was the Harvard Business Review’s 10 must read series – it covered everything from leadership, strategy, innovation and emotional intelligence. 

Can you share a personal productivity tip?

Use a to-do list (actively) – I use Todoist and exercise, great way to clear the head.

And a networking tip?

Take your business cards and follow up with your new contacts.

Interested? Learn more about our Mentoring Program.

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