It’s only taken a couple of months for
former Telstra CEO Ziggy Switkowski to land a major board seat, and a
tasty one it is, combining a bit of business with a sun and seafood
lifestyle.

But it’s a bit out of his area of competence, and you
have to wonder what he will bring to the core businesses of
Suncorp-Metway, the Brisbane-based banking and insurance group run by
former Comm Banker, John Mulcahy.

Here’s the announcement,which reads: “Dr Switkowski will bring
significant public company and corporate governance experience to
Suncorp at a time when Suncorp is experiencing strong profit and
operational growth and expanding its presence across Australia.”

Some
investors would have liked some mention of risk management, the one
area where financial groups stumble, always. Take the AMP and the
National Australia Bank; they both claimed to have good corporate
governance and directors who were on top of things. But both proved to
be short of directors who had experience in the core businesses.

They
are banking and insurance, just as Suncorp’s are banking and the GIO
insurance business; not to mention ownership of the LJ Hooker real
estate chain.

There are a lot of risk management pitfalls there…

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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