Tell us a little about your career path
I started my career working with Deloitte Melbourne in the audit group and after four years headed across to the UK for a two-year secondment to broaden one’s horizons. It worked as I ended up as a CFO at a client for 18 months. I then returned to the M&A division at Deloitte – my “real world” experience had encouraged me to be more ambitious than the world of audit. After a couple of years I then left to take on the role of Manager Acquisitions/Commercial Manager with Nylex Limited – which was an exciting, challenging and eventful few years. By all means Google the Austrim Nylex 2000 Christmas party.
I then leapt into a private equity opportunity as CFO of WorldMark Holdings where I stayed for four years. With father time ticking I then re-entered the world of ASX listed companies by joining Orica Limited and over a five year period moved through a number of CFO roles in Chemicals, Mining Services in North America, and Minova (Global platform) as well as a stint in Investor Relations. With opportunities at Orica looking longer dated, I left to joined Amcor as VP Corporate Finance and progressed to playing an instrumental role in steering Orora through the demerger from Amcor in 2013. A result of which I was appointed the inaugural CFO – the position I still hold today. In summary – build a solid foundation and then be prepared to take some risk and make the most of opportunities as they come.
And your education?
Swinburne University – Bachelor of Accounting
What has been a career high?
Completing the demerger of Orora from Amcor and our journey since.
Do the diligence on “who” you will be working for – while you always learn something, with the benefit of hindsight, Austrim Nylex was not the best choice.
How is the CFO role transforming?
It continues to evolve – it’s much more of a broad business partner role – the balance is to manage the expectation of being able to foresee what’s coming next while at the same time making sure the back yard is secure.
Are there risks associated with that transformation?
Absolutely- the skills required are forever broadening – best piece of advice is to surround yourself with as much talent as you can.
How far out can a CFO plan, given the pace of change at present?
There is always a longer term overlay but ideally have reasonable clarity on the next 6-12 months – keeping in mind that this is very fluid and potentially changes rapidly.
And what are the implications of that planning horizon?
Keep it fresh and agile – always look and listen for signals of change
What was the best advice you ever received?
Aim high and back yourself to succeed.
How do you switch off?
I like to play golf and spend time with my wife and two daughters at our beach house in Sorrento.
What would you say is the best business book ever read, and why?
I’m not sure it’s a business book but Legacy – story of the All Blacks – principles that apply to the most successful team on earth also apply to many factors of management.
Can you share a personal productivity tip?
There are always more demands than time – so use your judgement and focus on the things that will make a difference.
And a networking tip?
Do as much as you can in the good times.