Another
Melbourne
takeover and does this make a trend?

The
very well connected Melbourne finance person, James McKenzie, has
been named chairman of Sydney-based property group, Mirvac, replacing Adrian Lane who has stood for three
terms.

The
news was slipped out Thursday evening and attracted little attention. But it
is notable for a number of points, the most important being that it confirms the
power of Sydney property man, Greg Paramour in
the affairs of Mirvac and in Sydney
property.

After
the ascension of Ron Walker to the chairmanship of the Fairfax publishing and
media group, the McKenzie appointment could be a continuation, the development
of this trend.

Just
how McKenzie will fare being yet another absentee chairman – living in one city
and chairman in another – remains to be seen. The precedents of people like Stan
Wallis at the AMP don’t raise hopes.

But
it’s the role of Greg Paramour in the appointment that’s interesting, and the
intersection of McKenzie with a number of leading business people in both cities. It was
a quick promotion for Mr McKenzie: he’d only joined
the board in January of this year.

Paramour’s name and phone number was given as the
contact at Mirvac: that says it all. Paramour has had dealings with the Packers, including
Packer’s chief legal counsel and company secretary, Guy Jalland, in both Sydney and Melbourne.

McKenzie is connected to the Victorian Government and
Labor establishment and to the biotech industry in the south through his
membership of the boards of Amrad and Circadian. That
in turns puts him into the orbit of people like Leon Serry (who’s behind Circadian) and the Thorney Investment
group of Dick Pratt, which has a largish shareholding in
Amrad.

And
finally you’d have to ask whether McKenzie is being stretched a bit thin. Here’s
a potted CV from the Amrad
website:

Mr. MacKenzie is a Non-Executive Director of Mirvac Limited and Non-Executive Chairman of James Fielding
Funds Management. He is also Chairman of Victorian TAC and Victorian WorkCover Authority, Director of Victorian Major Events
Company Limited, MediAire Inc and Non-Executive
Director of Circadian Technologies Limited. His previous appointments include
Managing Director, Funds Management and Insurance at ANZ Bank and Chief
Executive Officer of Norwich Union Australia.

James
Fielding is Greg Paramour’s key investment arm in property.

Peter Fray

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