We told you so.

A Crikey analysis earlier this month of corporate disasters over the past 12 years in Australia revealed that chairmen and CEOs tend to be shoved out the door in quick succession. Charles Allen’s resignation as NAB chairman yesterday is just the latest example although never before have a top 50 CEO and chairman gone in the space of just 14 days.

Check out the story which was headlined: History says Charles Allen will quit NAB

The list of troubled companies which lost their CEO and chairman within six months of each other now includes NAB, AMP, Westpac, ANZ, Aristocrat, David Jones, Orica, Lend Lease, PMP and Southcorp.

Whilst this is clearly accountability at work, there is little sign that the gene pool of the director’s club is deepening.

Graham Kraehe the new number one

Just when we thought the number of men chairing two top 100 companies was on the decline, we’ve seen it blow out from 6 to 8 in just a few weeks although John Morschel has flagged his departure as Leighton chairman next month.

So who are these powerful men breaching the new ASX corporate governance guidelines which stipulate that no-one should chair more than one top 100 company?

  • Rick Allert (Axa and Coles Myer)
  • Don Argus (BHP-Billiton and Brambles) 
  • Charles Goode (ANZ and Woodside) 
  • Mark Johnston (Macquarie Infrastructure Group and AGL) 
  • Graeme Kraehe (NAB and Bluescope Steel) 
  • John Morschel (Leighton and CSR) 
  • James Strong (Woolworths and Insurance Australia Group) 
  • Peter Willcox (AMP and Mayne)

There are some easy ways to reduce this further. Woodside needs a Perth-based chairman and now that a new CEO is in place Charles Goode should resign. MIG needs an independent chairman so Mark Johnson should quit that chairmanship, Don Argus has been a disaster at Brambles so he should resign forthwith and Rick Allert’s career as a director should be over after the disaster at Southcorp. That would only leave James Strong, Peter Willcox and Graeme Kraehe chairing two top 100 companies.

Crikey ranks Australia’s top 20 professional directors and Graham Kraehe has just leapt from number 9 to number 1 with his NAB appointment while Charles Allen has fallen out of the top 20.

Check out our updated rankings of Australia’s most powerful company directors here:  Kraehe becomes our most powerful director

Get Crikey for $1 a week.

Lockdowns are over and BBQs are back! At last, we get to talk to people in real life. But conversation topics outside COVID are so thin on the ground.

Join Crikey and we’ll give you something to talk about. Get your first 12 weeks for $12 to get stories, analysis and BBQ stoppers you won’t see anywhere else.

Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
12 weeks for just $12.