BRONWYN Morris (pictured) is a director of Spotless Group, QIC Limited, RACQ and Care Australia and also a member of the Australian Advisory Committee of Parsons Brinckerhoff and a councillor of the AICD Queensland division. She is also one of the key people in the 2018 Commonwealth Games Gold Coast bid team and has also served on the boards of Colorado Group, Stanwell Corporation and Brisbane Marketing.
Your directorial resume reads like a ‘who’s who’ of corporate Australia. What is the role of today’s professional non-executive director?
I work as a director, not as a member of management, across a number of entities. Accordingly I work in a non-executive capacity. Directors can and should bring a range of skills to a board. My early career was as a chartered accountant working in accounting and finance across a broad range of industries. Over the past 15 years I have gained experience in corporate governance of the various organisations on which I serve as a director.
How do you approach decision making across the different types of boards?
While companies may be diverse in their nature, size and activities, it is important for directors to approach their decision making in a rational, informed manner. Directors need to be disciplined in seeking the appropriate information from management and outside advisers to allow adequate consideration of the major issues. Some decisions are relatively straight-forward but others may require rigorous and sometimes, robust, discussion around the board room table.
How do you determine when your job is done and it’s time to step down as a non-exec director?
A company in set-up phase is different to one which has been long-established with proven results. Organisations evolve over time and different skills at both board and management level might be needed at different stages of that evolution. Good directors know when they are making a meaningful contribution and when a new set of skills might be called for. It is in the best interests of both the organisation and a director to know when it is time to move on.
What are your thoughts on the privatisation and subsequent ASX-float of Queensland Rail and how it’s been received by investors and the general public?
I was fortunate to be chairman of QR when it stamped its footprint in the Australian freight business as a truly national railway. I am delighted to have played a part in the expansion of the company which hopefully helped facilitate its eventual listing on the Australian Stock Exchange. Queenslanders should be very proud of the success of the float of QRN.
What’s the best piece of advice you can give to young business leaders who one day aspire to hold multiple board positions?
As a starting point I highly recommend the AICD’s Company Directors Course as it provides the knowledge base of what being a director is all about, including the responsibilities and obligations associated with governing an organisation. Then I recommend identifying the specific skills you feel you might be able to bring to board roles and work on developing and enhancing those skills over time.
Tell us a bit about your role in the Commonwealth Games bid?
I am delighted to be serving on the board of the bid company and firmly believe that to win the 2018 Commonwealth Games would be terrific for the Gold Coast. We have now lodged our bid book and in the time leading up to the vote being taken in November this year we need to show the visiting delegates how the Gold Coast is ready, willing and able. We know we have an enthusiastic competitor in Hambantota (Sri Lanka) so we need everyone on the Gold Coast to get behind our bid.
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