After the corporate cowboys of the 1980s, a group of businessman came together to advise the Hawke Government on corporate law reform. They were an eclectic lot – but where are they now? Corporate law archivist Henry Knott-Hartnell reports.

In dipping in and out of google and Who’s Who online this week, Crikey’s occasional corporate achivist came across several documents from the early and mid 1990s which prompted the question, where are they now?

We were looking for background on several people, some of whom turned up in or around the The Companies and Securities Advisory Committee, a high-powered body of practitioners from all sides of the corporate fence who gave their views on issues and proposed changes to the Corporations Laws of the time.

Here is the Coimmittee’s membership back in January 1993, more than 11 years ago, in a discussion paper on Anomalies in the Takeovers Provisions of the Corporations Law. This was prior to the CLERP process of the Howard Government.

The members of the Advisory Committee were

Mark Burrows (Convenor) – Baring Brothers Burrows & Co Ltd, Don Argus (Deputy Convenor)- National Australia Bank Ltd, John Barner- Coles Myer Ltd, Reg Barrett – Westpac Banking Corporation, Professor Philip Brown – University of Western Australia, Alan Cameron – Australian Securities Commission, David Crawford- KPMG Peat Marwick, Kevin Driscoll – National Homes Pty Limited, William Gurry- Potter Warburg Ltd, Leigh Hall – AMP Society, Wayne Lonergan – Coopers & Lybrand, Ann McCallum – Garraway & Partners, Alan McGregor – FH Faulding & Co Ltd, Mark Rayner – CRA Ltd and Andrew Turnbull – Burns Philp & Co Ltd.

Some blasts from the past and present there and the committee had earlier included luminaries such as Michael Kent, the former finance director of John Spalvins’ failed Adsteam group of companies.

So where are they now? Crikey would like help from subscribers. But here goes with a first up effort.

Mark Burrows: After Burns, Philp imploded and life got a little tougher with the change of Federal Government in 1996, he moved to London while remaining on the Brambles, Burns Philp and John Fairfax boards. Now returning to run Lazards’ Australian business after being finished up at ING Barings in London.

Don Argus: BHP Billiton and Brambles chairman, one a relative success as a dual listed entity, the other a failure. His failure to pass on a culture of proper disclosure and accountability at the NAB is now becoming apparent and handing over to Frank Cicutto was not a good move.

John Barner: former Coles Myer Chief Financial Officer who Philip Bowman revealed was dismissed for misbehaviour in the mid 1990s. Was the ultimate architect of the notorious Yannon transaction and kept the most detailed and anal diaries in the history of corporate Australia.

Reg Barrett: now a Judge of the NSW Supreme Court after a succesful time at Westpac, especially during the miserable years after its near death experience in 1991-92.

Professor Philip Brown: do not know.

Alan Cameron: former head of the Australian Securities Commission and then ASIC, now in business with Lyn Ralph in Sydney specialising in corporate governance.

David Crawford: the former national chairman of KPMG and receiver-manager of choice for the banks in all those early 1990s work-outs. Now the best example of the old Melbourne corporate establishment with the Scotch College, Melbourne Cricket Club and Melbourne Club credentials. One of the most powerful professional directors who chairs Lend Lease and sits on the boards of BHP-Billiton, Westpac and Foster’s. Headed the Soccer Review Committee of the Federal Government after doing a review of the AFL in the 1990s.

Kevin Driscoll: Now 77 and still sitting on a few Queensland boards and running his own pastoral company.

William Gurry: Coles Myer director, director of private group, GS Private Equity and former head of UBS Australia,

Leigh Hall: retired head of AMP Investments.

Wayne Lonergan: the former Coopers & Lybrand partner and adviser to George Hersuc now runs corporate valuer Lonergan Edwards and Associates and is a sometime poet.

Anne McCallum: not known.

Alan McGregor: well FH Faulding is no longer with us, nor Goodman Fielder, another former board, but remains chairman of James Hardie and Burns, Philp. The man who stared down John Elliott on the Foster’s board remains an influential and respected corporate figure who also chairs the Centre for Independent Studies.

Mark Rayner: Still a director of Boral and Alumina even though he chaired Pasminco when it collapsed and was retrenched from Rio Tinto after Leon Davis assumed the top job. Stood down early as NAB chairman after Homeside and Pasminco and also took the wrap for problems when chairman of Mayne Nickless.

Andrew Turnbull: the former Burns Philp CEO is no longer with us.

Peter Fray

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