Harold Mitchell Seven Cricket Australia
Harold Mitchell (Image: Julian Smith/AAP)

After he declined to give evidence in his recent civil battle with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), it was very interesting watching advertising Rich Lister Harold Mitchell be put through his paces for around three hours at the Crown Resorts inquiry in Sydney last Friday.

As The Australian’s Margin Call column noted on Saturday, Mitchell was a very relaxed and conversational witness, waxing lyrical on all manner of topics ranging from his weight loss discussions with James Packer, how Kerry Packer bailed him out with a $1.9 million loan in 1991 and the three “minor” breaches of his director duties at Tennis Australia, as determined recently by Justice Jonathan Beach, who largely exonerated Mitchell.

After nine years on the Crown board and having turned 78 this year, Mitchell’s days as a Crown director are surely numbered, if only because he demonstrated that he was way too close to the Packer family and therefore unlikely to qualify as a genuinely independent director in the period ahead.