Australian Boards are Locked Into a Culture of “Consensus, Caution and Compliance”

According to a panel of more than 20 chief executives and chairmen such as Qantas’s Leigh Clifford and IAG’s Peter Harmer. But who is to blame for the resulting stunted corporate strategy is unclear, with chairmen blaming play-it-safe directors and the directors in turn pointing to chairman who “frown on provocative outside challenges”. In the meantime, CEOs feel they lack the support of their boards to pursue growth beyond the increased dividends so craved by the market. “In the end we all agreed that for Australian companies to grow and prosper, boards and CEOs need to take a good look in the mirror,’’ said l Adam Dixon. According to the report, board culture was “over-indexed to the three Cs: consensus, caution and compliance”. It says: “Chairs point to directors who play it safe to protect their careers and directors point to chairs who frown on provocative outside challenges.’’

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