Paul Mather La Trobe Business School

LBS Head of School Professor Paul Mather was an invited speaker and panellist at a symposium on Corporate Governance organised by the Institute of Directors in New Zealand and the University of Otago in Dunedin.

Were the directors asleep at the wheel? – This was the main question asked in the wake of corporate collapses such as Enron. Regulatory reforms emerged emphasising board structure such as independence, expertise and formation of committees. It has been more than a decade, so did reforms turn out to be yet another round of governance box checking which overlooked what directors are expected to do: apply independent thinking and knowledge in the best interests of the organisation? This symposium examined the importance of board culture and processes and what directors should do to meet shareholders’ interests.  Paul provided a high level overview of the academic research to date and highlighted some of the key regulatory implications flowing from the research.  In particular, he emphasised the need for regulations to also pay attention to processes rather than largely focus on structure.  A robust panel discussion followed.

The other panellists were:

Michael Stiassny – President of the Institute of Directors in New Zealand.

Jan Dawson – Chair of Westpac New Zealand, deputy chair of Air New Zealand and an independent director of BECA, AIG New Zealand and Meridian Energy.

Colin Magee – Head of Conduct for the Financial Markets Authority in New Zealand.