Directors Colloquium

UNSW Business School

How long?

  • 4 days
  • in person

UNSW Business School


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Who should attend

This program has been developed by the AGSM specifically to build the expertise of:

  • Current board members of public companies
  • Current board members of public sector and state-owned corporations
  • Directors from regional organisations currently or seeking to do business in Australia

About the course

As the world becomes more volatile, uncertain and complex, the role of Directors of large organisations has never been more challenging or more important. The Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM) sponsored by King & Wood Mallesons and the Business Council of Australia, is holding the Corporate Directors Colloquium to help you hone your expertise as one of Australia’s most influential Company Directors.

Program participation is carefully curated through an application process to ensure that a cohort of experienced Directors learn together, build a strong network and discuss real challenges in confidence.

What you'll learn

The Program will focus on key issues facing Directors today

  • Finding the line between growth strategy for the long term and immediate priorities
  • How to manage the tension between individual accountability and collective decision making
  • How to maintain reputation in the public domain while under constant scrutiny
  • How to address the lack of diversity in thinking
  • Effective crisis management
  • Challenging the respective roles of Boards and management, and establishing productive and constructive engagement and ways of working together
  • Challenging and refining the Board's legal and regulatory context and remit
  • Creating an environment in which management and boards can engage for mutual success
  • Ensuring the simultaneous delivery of sustainable shareholder and customer value
  • Building an open and transparent organisational culture that is positive, values driven and retains the best and brightest management talent
  • Best practice governance
  • Organisational performance and strategy development and execution
  • Digital disruption and the implications, investment and decision making, for business and operating models
  • Resolving remuneration challenges to ensure the attraction and retention of senior management (pay for performance)
  • Managing the risk of becoming “stuck in the weeds” of operations
  • Reputation and brand management; the role of the Board in communications and shareholder relations

How you'll learn

Featuring a series of contemporary, specially developed case studies dissecting significant boardroom events including Storm Financial, AMP, James Hardie, Qantas, Glencore, AWB, Centro, CBA, Origin Energy and BHP, participating Directors will hear from speakers directly involved. Case studies will provide a forum to discuss key challenges faced by boards in a confidential environment.

Case Study Summaries


The AMP Case focuses on the Financial Services Royal Commission and the resignation of the CEO, General Counsel and four board members. The core issues include constructively questioning information from management and external parties, the board’s role in the “details” compared to strategic decision-making, and board and organisational culture.

Australian Wheat Board

The AWB Case focuses on the role of the directors and the Chair in the infamous Oil-for-Food scandal. The core issues include a director’s responsibility to investigate issues that have been brought to their attention, responsibility to question management when put on inquiry, and the imposition of penalties for breach of directors’ duties of oversight.


The BHP Case focuses on the crisis management approach taken by BHP in the Samarco Mine disaster. The core issues include crisis management approach and planning, communication in crisis management, reputational risk, and the challenge of balancing the requirements of crisis management with running the core business.


The Centro case focuses on financial risk for organisations and the expectations of directors in relation to financial information. The core issues include financial risk, the duty of directors actively to review financial information, “information overload” at board level, and reliance on external parties to validate information.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia

The CBA Case focuses on the APRA report and why it was called “required reading for every director in the country” by then-Treasurer Scott Morrison. The core issues include oversight and governance, remuneration and risk management, organisational structure and risk management, and organisational culture.


The Glencore Case focuses on the recent 180-degree change in strategy from a “counter cultural” strategy of buying coal to the recent focus on addressing climate change risk and capping coal production. The core issues include rapid strategic decision making, taking a risk-aware approach compared to a risk-averse approach, and investor and community expectations.

James Hardie

The James Hardie Case focuses on the restructure and relocation to the Netherlands and the establishment of the Medical Research and Compensation Fund for asbestos related liability, including the Jackson inquiry. The core issues include stakeholder management, communication in an ongoing crisis management scenario, board communication and culture, and the use of external advice such as legal and actuarial advice.


The Origin Case focuses on the 2008 attempted hostile takeover of Origin Energy and the strategy employed by the board to rebuff the attempt. The core issues include strategic decision making at the board level, board composition, rapid decision making, and managing shareholder expectations and shareholder value.


The Qantas Case focuses on the rejected request by Qantas for industry assistance from the government in 2014, and the subsequent turnaround strategy. The core issues include board composition, strategy in a significant downturn, deploying a “bet the company” strategy and the board’s relationship with management.

Storm Financial

The Storm Financial Case focuses on the collapse of Storm during the Global Financial Crisis. The core issues include the role of non-executive directors, the liability of directors for strategies that expose the company to the risk of regulatory action, and the liability of banks and other business partners caught up in the collapse.


The role of the Board and effective discharge of its responsibilities

  • Activist shareholders and proxy advisers
  • Driving sustainable and value-led executive performance
  • Balancing a focus on opportunity and not mitigating risk alone
  • Remuneration design to attract and retain senior management
  • Meeting and managing stakeholder expectations
  • Employee value proposition, organisational culture and integrity
  • Crisis management and dealing with rapidly changing contexts
  • The role of the Board and its Directors in 2030
  • Successfully dealing with external advisors

Risk, regulation and the legal environment

  • Risk management
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Duties and liabilities of directors and immunity from prosecution
  • Financial reporting issues and challenges; knowing how and when to ask the important questions
  • Information flow and Board reporting – understanding lead and lag indicator and setting the appropriate ‘watchtowers’
  • Reputation and brand management; effective stakeholder communications

Strategy and decision making

  • Effective collective decision making; balancing constructive debate and challenge with decision making
  • Finding the line between growth strategy for the long term and immediate priorities to deliver shareholder value
  • Digital disruption and emerging technology, how to engage and support management to take sustainable investment decisions
  • Learning how to know ‘just enough’ technical expertise to ask informed questions without requiring deep subject matter expertise
  • Broader conceptualisations of sustainability
  • Board succession planning


Jeffrey Tobias

An accomplished strategist, with years of commercial and business experience, Jeffrey works with organisations to improve customer experience and increase revenue growth by transforming the way they do business. He is a thought leader on innovation and collaboration, and his work is being applie...

Pamela Hanrahan

Professor Pamela Hanrahan is Professor of Commercial Law and Regulation. She is one of Australia's leading authorities on financial services law and regulation. In addition to her academic career at the UNSW Business School and, previously, the Melbourne Law School and as a Visitor at the Centre ...

Tim Bednall

Tim Bednall is a Partner of King & Wood Mallesons who practises in mergers and acquisitions, capital markets and corporate governance. Tim was Chairman of the Australian partnership of KWM from January 2010 to December 2012, during which time the combination between King & Wood and Malles...

Shannon Finch

Shannon Finch is a senior M&A partner with global corporate law firm, Jones Day. Shannon has in-depth experience in all aspects of corporate law involving governance, M&A, private equity, equity capital markets (IPOs and secondary raisings), debt capital markets, restructurings, and worko...

Directors Colloquium at UNSW Business School

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