Geoff Cousins is a real blow-up-the-room kind of guy in the boardroom. He is far from being collegial and has absolutely no fear. Often he is like a man sitting over a box of TNT.

He comes across as a holier-than-thou person when it comes to issues of propriety, but in the process he couldn’t seem to understand that in business and on boards not every issue is black and white. There are shades of grey, but Geoff didn’t want to see them. We are talking about a guy who engages in letter warfare, writing libellous or offensive letters to the chairman and fellow directors, copying them to ASIC, sometimes going feral.

The Telstra board will definitely have issues with Geoff. He’ll take on the Americans, he’ll demand accountability; I can’t imagine how he will coexist in that mix. Is that why the government wants him there? Was that why Kerry Packer put him on boards?

But you certainly have to agree with him on one point: he is no-one’s man.

Peter Fray

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