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Crikey says: the hands that hold the nation’s wealth

Boardrooms and backrooms is where you’ll find us today. The Power Index goes inside the nation’s corporate suites to discover who’s really running business. We peer inside a Melbourne hotel room to meet the exiled shock jock trying to bring down a government. Plus Bernard Keane on the scandal some won’t let go away.

Peter Mason is the chairman of the AMP and David Jones boards, and a director of Singtel. He chairs the Centre for International Finance and Regulation and sits on the board of half-a-dozen not-for-profits, from the University of New South Wales Foundation to the Sydney Opera House Trust.

It’s one hell of a resume — and contacts book. And he’s only ranked No. 10 on The Power Index business directors list.

Most of us may never have heard of the likes of Mason, Michael Chaney, Bob Every, Robert Millner and Catherine Livingstone. But they’re some of the most influential people in the world of business, boardroom titans that counsel the country’s biggest companies.

What The Power Index has found — in a forensic investigation that for the first time examines boardroom power in terms of market capitalisation and, crucially, business networks — is just how tight Australia’s directors’ club is. So much power, so much money, in the hands of so few.

Beginning today, The Power Index — now integrated into Crikey as exclusive subscriber content — reveals who these men and women are and how they got to the very top. Countdown the heavy-hitters for the next three weeks and see who really controls the nation’s wealth. The results will surprise you.

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