There are about 15 70-plus directors in Australia who will love the PM’s plan to remove the age barriers for company directors. They include his brother Stan, Rupert Murdoch and Frank Lowy.

Hmmm, interesting timing with Frank Lowy turning 71 last week and Rupert Murdoch 71 next March. Crikey quite fancied the prospect of running against or just challenging the old powerhouses every year rather than every three.

And what about Australia’s worst professional director, John’s older brother Stan Howard, who turns 72 next year. As someone committed to attending any meeting when Stan is up for re-election, the PM could be protecting his brother from some possible contested elections at Hills Motorway.

The Australian went way over the top on Tuesday with its front page story suggesting John Howard was doing his brother Stan Howard a favour by lifting the 72 year age limit on company directors.

It was a legitimate story but how could The Oz fail to mention the Murdoch angle. Afterall, Rupert had dinner with John Howard in Washington on September 10. In a wide-ranging discussion, I reckon Murdoch would have raised this one.

Stan only has one directorship left with the Sydney tollroad company Hills Motorway so clearly the Millionaire Factory at Macquarie Bank are comfortable Stan can’t stuff up an operating tollroad.

An example of this law practice can be seen in this year’s Clough Ltd notice of meeting.

Item 2(a)

William Harold Clough, who has attained the age of 75, being born on 30 September 1926, retires pursuant to section 228 of the Corporations Act 2001 and offers himself for re-election to hold office until the conclusion of the next AGM (by resolution requiring a three-quarters majority of members voting).

Crikey was chatting to BHP-Billiton director Derek Keys after the recent AGM and he’s a well-travelled chap having served as South Africa’s Finance Minister in both the last white government and the first Mandella government.

Derek reckons directors should be banned at a certain age because otherwise it makes it difficult to get them out of the company. If they’re that good, keep them on as consultants but the US have unlimited careers for judges and therefore have plenty of senile old judges dying on the job.

We risk the same thing happening here although it is reassuring that many company constitutions have their own limitations.

For instance, the recent BHP-Billiton AGM saw Derek Keys and John Jackson both re-elected for just 12 months on special resolutions requiring 75 per cent of the vote because the company’s constitutions and articles of association require this.

The prominent OLDIES on Australian boards at the moment include the following:

Send any corrections or additions to [email protected] and anyone who comes up with five corrections or additions for any single list will be entitled to a free subscription.

Tim Besley: 74yo wines and dines like a 30yo and gave up CBA but still chairs Leighton.

Ian Burgess: booted out of AMP last year but turns 70 next month and still chairing WMC.

Sir Rod Carnegie: Turns 70 next November when due for re-election at Fairfax.

Ian Harper: The Westpac director since 1987 turns 70 on January 4 and really should give it a rest at the next AGM in December as it’s his last gig.

Ted Harris: 74yo chairman of Thakral Holdings.

Sir Leo Heischler: Joh’s former treasury chief was on the board Davids well into his 70s.

Warren Hogan: one of the three oldies on Westpac’s board, Hoges is now 72 and really should retire at this upcoming AGM next month.

Malcolm Irving: Turns 72 today and just bowing out from Telstra whilst still Caltex chair.

John Jackson: 72yo NED of BHP-Billiton.

Bryan Kelman, 76yo former CSR CEO who is still deputy chairman of Macquarie Bank.

Derek Keys: 69yo NED of BHP-Billiton who lives in J’berg.

Eric Mayer: Finally bowed ou t of Axa in February and turned 71 in April.

Ian McMullin: founded Spotless in 1946 and stepped down as MD to become a NED in 1972, a position the 80yo has held ever since.

Sir Laurence Muir: one of Packer’s NEDs on PBL who is now 76.

Peter Nixon: 73yo former National Party Minister finally quit Southern Cross Broadcasting last year.

Prof David Pennington: 71yo was smart to drop PacDun but still chairs booming Cochlear.

Peter Rowsthorn: The Toll Holdings major shareholder and retiring 71 year old chairman is definitely the richest 70-plus company director with a stake worth $250 million.

Chris Stewart: former Bank of Melbourne CEO is still on Westpac and Permanent Trustee

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