At a point when the governance of most of the corporations is being questioned like never, it’s obvious that a campaign was started by David Murray against ASX corporate governance rules. The reputation of the corporate sector has rarely been attacked so regularly, whether it is the royal commission into the financial services, environmentalists upset at Coles’ backflip on plastic bags, the airway giant Qantas’ support for same-sex marriage or the Prime Minister declaring war against the energy companies. Amongst all, the big four banks were impacted the most in terms of reputation and made a $6 billion loss in the market value of AMP, which is chaired by Mr. David Murray.
However, surprisingly the power list is led by a leader in the banking sector ‘Commonwealth Bank of Australia’ chairman Catherine Livingstone. Ms. Livingstone, as the head of the board managing the biggest bank, which holds almost a third of deposits and sells a quarter of the country’s home loans, is not just unquestionably powerful. Others on the list in order of rankings are Andrew Mackenzie on second, followed by Brian Hartzer on third, Nicholas Moore and Shemara Wikramanayke on fourth, continuing the corporate power list is Rob Scott on fifth, followed by David Murray on sixth, Scott Charlton stands on seventh while Anthony Pratt on eighth, Peter Coleman is on the ninth position and to close the list on tenth is Alan Joyce.
Power is changing, which is demonstrated by the leaders on the 2018 corporate power list. Trust in institutions is lost which makes them realize the importance of individual values, across politics and business. The bank’s ability to fix problems relies heavily on reflecting the organization’s values, Livingstone says, which in turn rely on the values of the individual employees. Macquarie Group’s Nicholas Moore and Westpac’s Brian Hartzer joined Ms. Livingstone on the corporate power list who have mainly escaped the royal commission’s stare. Shemara Wikramanayke for Macquarie group takes over in November and will arguably become one of the most powerful women in the country and the most powerful female chief executive.
Wesfarmers chief executive Rob Scott is another rising leader on the list. The power of Australia’s two retail giants, Wesfarmers and Woolworths, remains strong despite of all the hype around the arrival of Amazon in Australia and the success of challengers such as Aldi. After Coles spin off into a separate company ‘Wesfarmers’ will be a very different business while retaining 15 percent stake in the business. On the other side Transurban chief executive Scott Charlton’s next move is known to investors that he will complete the $9.3 billion WestConnex toll roads in Sydney. CBA emerges from a tough year, the chief executive Livingstone believes that will depend not just on how investors view the company, but also on regulators, politicians and the community to see the bank is acting with integrity. Primarily it is a concern of responsibility and accountability as per the chief executive.
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