Melbourne Business School Events and Information Sessions MBS Breakfast Series | Fred Hilmer AO

MBS Breakfast Series | Fred Hilmer AO

Tuesday, 30 August 2022
7.00 AM - 9.00 AM

We had another very successful MBS Breakfast Series event on Tuesday 30 August with special guest Professor Fred Hilmer AO for an in-depth conversation with Ian Harper, Dean of Melbourne Business School.

Prof Hilmer is a former Fairfax CEO and Vice-Chancellor of the University of New South Wales whose latest book What's Wrong With Boards explores the quality of corporate leadership in Australia.

Prof Hilmer spoke about why being a director of a listed company is becoming more complex and less attractive – but has never been more important.

We had a brilliant turn out in-person, and many joining us virtually. Thank you to everyone who attended, we look forward to welcoming you to another MBS event very soon. If you would like to watch the recording, you can watch it here.


About the speaker

Professor Fred Hilmer AO | Author, 'What's Wrong With Boards'

Professor Fred Hilmer AO | Author, 'What's Wrong With Boards'

Professor Fred Hilmer was Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of New South Wales from 2006 -2015. Prior to taking up this position, he was Chief Executive Officer of John Fairfax Holdings Limited from 1998 –2005. Professor Hilmer was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 1998 for his service to management education, competition policy, and workplace reform.

Fred has served as Director, TNT, Coca-Cola Amatil, Macquarie Bank, Chair of Pacific Power and Deputy Chair of Fosters Brewing Group and Westfield Holdings and related companies.

Professor Hilmer has written extensively on strategy, organisation and economic reform and is the author of a number of books, including: When The Luck Runs Out, New Games/New Rules, co-authored Strictly Boardroom, Working Relations and Management Redeemed, and, most recently, The Fairfax Experience —What The Management Texts Didn’t Teach Me.



From this event

It was a pleasure to welcome you in person and virtually for the MBS Breakfast Series event with guest speaker Professor Fred Hilmer AO.


One of the key messages that kept coming through was the importance of good leadership on a board. Professor Hilmer spoke of his personal experience where good leadership created an environment where he felt safe to raise concerns and challenge the status quo. To be effective, boards need to be environments where everyone is encouraged to bring their opinions and personal expertise to the table.   


He also highlighted the challenges boards face in today’s world where public companies are often expected to fulfill an individual’s sense of purpose, as well as providing a job. For example, they are often expected to make the trade off between environmental benefits and financial gains. This is not a perfect science.


The discussion covered both sides - from ‘what’s wrong with boards’ to ‘what’s right with boards’. There was a very interesting reflection on corporate governance – from ASX-listed to for-purpose organisations. The event ended with a fascinating Q&A inviting reflection on sustainability, proxies and diversity in boards.


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