Tony Abbott NEG IPCC report

And so the list grows. We launched with six names of blokes who should retire in December last year, added another five names in April, and today we’ve got seven more:

Tony Abbott

The Liberal Party finally prospered under John Howard once Andrew Peacock left the Parliament and their long-standing feud concluded. The same goes with Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull. They’ve been rivals for more than 20 years, and it is not helping anyone on the conservative side to have Abbott constantly sniping through his News Corp mates and the 2GB shock jocks. Standard good governance expects any former CEO or chairman to completely depart the company to ensure his or her successor has a clear run at the top job. Abbott is a stand-out example of the dangers of former leaders sticking around, and if he can’t bring it upon himself to do the right thing, preselectors in the safe seat of Warringah should do it for him. Twenty-three years as the local member is long enough. Hawke, Keating, Fraser and Gillard all did the dignified thing of leaving Parliament within weeks of losing the prime ministership. There’s no case of unfair dismissal like with Rudd because Abbott was given plenty of notice by his colleagues and he still didn’t address their concerns. He’ll never get the top job back, so it really is time to retire.

Len Ainsworth

Having sold his controlling stake in pokies manufacturer Ainsworth Gaming Technology (AGT) last year, surely it is time for the 93-year-old to retire from the board and lead a quiet life. This billionaire is arguably more responsible for Australia’s sad, world-leading, per capita gambling losses than anyone else, making his first fortune through Aristocrat, and then doing it again with AGT. The executive chairman describes his own achievements as follows on the AGT website: “He has long been acknowledged as the industry leader throughout Australia and is widely respected for the outstanding contribution he has made to it, especially for the contribution poker machines have made to the financial success and standing of licensed clubs.” Len turns 94 in July. Is there an older public company director anywhere in the world?

Greg Alexander

It’s 2017 folks. If even the AICD signed up for public company boards to have at least 30% female board representation, there’s clearly a problem with high-profile boards that are still a male monopoly. Given the AICD moved two years ago, the solution, when you find one of these dinosaur outfits, is to advocate for the longest-serving blokes to go. At the Penrith Panthers, that is deputy chairman Greg Alexander, who sits there with eight other blokes and has been on the board for 14 years. The former rugby league professional and Panthers legend is also arguably conflicted, given that his day job is commentating on the NRL for Fox Sports.

Michael Fraser

Has been on the board of pokies behemoth Twin Towns in Tweed Heads for 35 years, including chair for the past six years. Currently serves as deputy chairman of Clubs NSW so clearly embedded into their “whatever it takes” culture of political influence. No financials or biographical information on directors are available on the Twin Towns website and the new constitution approved last month still bans members appointing proxies to vote at their AGMs, so the old show of hands in the room still rules the day. Given that the nine-man Twin Towns board is a female-free environment, and Fraser is both chair and the longest-serving director, we reckon the former real estate agent should retire.

Henry Kravis

You can’t doubt the performance of New York private equity fund Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, but the two cousins who founded it in 1976, Henry Kravis and George Roberts, have now been joint CEOs for 31 years. Given that business is on the nose, it’s time for at least one of these famous “Barbarians at the Gate” to step aside for the next generation of less ruthless private equity industry leaders to emerge. Kravis, 73, is the older and his decision to donate US$1 million to Donald Trump’s inauguration confirms that his judgement is deteriorating. Time to go, son.

Don Nardella

Proving once again that longevity in office often leads to an entitlement culture, Labor’s former deputy speaker in the Victorian Parliament became a pariah after rorting his expenses to the tune of almost $100,000 by claiming he was living in regional Ocean Grove, far away from his electorate of Melton in Melbourne’s western suburbs. Was kicked out of the Labor Party after at first refusing to pay back the money, but he finally coughed up after a huge backlash from colleagues, the media and voters alike. Labor now risks losing his normally safe seat at next year’s state election. After first being elected in 1992, why on Earth did Labor preselect someone so uninspiring yet again in 2014, after 22 years of unremarkable service in the Parliament? He should quit today.

Stephen Schwarzman

Co-founded US private equity giant Blackstone in 1985 with a few hundred thousand dollars along with his then-boss from Lehman Brothers. Has been paid literally billions in salary and bonuses whilst delivering for investors who have currently trusted him to manage more than US$300 billion. That said, surely 32 years is long enough when you have just turned 70 and your net wealth is estimated at US$11 billion. Governance issues are also emerging given that he is chairman of Donald Trump’s Strategic and Policy committee. Did this help Blackstone secure US$20 billion of Saudi public monies for a new US infrastructure fund, which was announced in recent days? There are a lot of old rich men associated with the Trump debacle, and Schwarzman is one of those who should retire.

Peter Fray

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