John Koot is chief executive of Balfour Wauchope, Australia’s largest privately owned baking group. The company is based in Adelaide with 640 employees. He has been general manager of Westons Biscuits and general manager of Fine Earth Foods. He is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management.
AIM: Can you describe your career in management?
Koot: I didn’t go to university. I started as a storeman, and became the youngest store manager in Victoria at Half Case supermarkets. I was in charge of a business turning over $200,000 a week and with 100 people. Supermarkets are the toughest training ground: you work on such slim margins and have such tough cost and financial controls. Human relations are also very important because a lot of the staff are casual.
AIM: What came next?
Koot: I had a young family and was putting in 100 hours a week. I became a sales rep with Westons biscuits, then a sales supervisor. Then I was promoted to state sales manager in Adelaide. When I landed there the area had been
Rob Carter is chief executive officer of the Brisbane City Council, the world’s largest council (by area). Before that he was director-general of the Department of Planning and Housing in Victoria and director-general of the Housing Corporation of New Zealand. He has a master of economics from Monash University, and has studied at the Institute for Management Development in Lausanne, Switzerland. He is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management.
AIM: How did you begin your career?
CARTER: I ran my own consultancy for 13 years out of Melbourne. I did a lot of public sector projects in areas such as the labor market and industry studies, and developed a lot of contacts in public sector management. I took a job as the deputy of the director-general in the Victorian Ministry of Housing and Construction. The job in New Zealand (with the Housing Corporation) came up and I applied. That was when Roger Davis was changing everything: they had a very advanced approach and chief executives were expected to manage a high lev
David McNee is director of the metals trading company Pinard Enterprises and director of Sheet Metal Supplies, a company of which he was formerly executive director. He is a Fellow of AIM.
AIM: How did you start?
McNEE: When I finished school I didn’t want to go to university, so I decided on an apprenticeship, so I went into an engineering firm.
AIM: So you started at the bottom. How did you rise up?
McNEE: A lot of hours, and some of it was a matter of being in the right place at the right time. I have also wanted to be involved in other areas. I have always enjoyed my jobs.
AIM: How important is education in management?
McNEE: I have only become involved in education in the past two years when I did a business-management certificate at AIM and a diploma at the University of New England. When I was in the sheet-metal industry I would do 60 to 70 hours a week, so I didn’t get time. But since I have started doing training, I realised what I was missing; why this approach or that approach
Bob Wilson is managing director of Classic Foods in Tasmania. He has worked in the dairy industry all his life. He worked in Australia’s first UHT (ultra high temperature) plant, then went on to advise on the use of UHT technology all over the world. He is a Fellow of AIM.
AIM: What is your management history?
WILSON: I grew up in the rural industry, on a dairy farm in the Huon Valley. I trained at the Hawkesbury Agricultural College in New South Wales, then went back to Tassie. In the early days I worked with a company that had invested in ultra high temperature (UHT) technology that pasteurised milk and packaged it in sterile conditions. The Launceston factory was the first plant equipped with it outside Europe. When we started it was quite revolutionary.
AIM: What happened?
WILSON: It proved to be uneconomic, and the company, Bakers Milk, closed it. But I was keen on the technology and decided to stay with it. The best opportunities were international, so I took on jobs in Africa: Zambia, Tanzania and Ke
Diane McEwan is executive director of Centralian College, an integrated tertiary institution in Darwin. In 1997 she was the NT/Telstra Businesswoman of the Year (public sector), and in 1995 she won the NT Council for Education Administration Achievement Award. She was principal of Pitman Central College in London, principal of Consortium Institutions in Kuwait and chair of the NT Businesswomen’s Consultative Council. She is a Fellow of AIM.
AIM: You undertook management training in the 1960s. How much has it changed since then?
McEwan: It is much more focused on workplace relationships now. Then the management training looked more at the theoretical; now there is a greater focus on workplace applications.
AIM: How would you assess local managers?
McEwan: Only 30% of our managers have academic qualifications, whereas 90% of Asian managers do. We need a mixture of experience and academic skills. You have your entrepreneurs and people who specialise in areas like economics and financial planning, but there is
Anne Riches is a consultant who has been in executive management positions for 25 years, including president of the NSW Women Lawyers Association and national councillor for the Australian Association of Philanthropy. A former lecturer in industrial law at the University of Sydney, she is a barrister and has published three books on law. She is an adjunct faculty member of the Graduate School of Business, University of Sydney. She is an associate fellow of AIM.
AIM: You have moved from teaching law to working in a number of corporate positions, to becoming a consultant. Is there a pattern?
Riches: Much of my career was around being regarded as a change agent. I was often asked to be involved in change or start up situations, somebody must have thought I was suited to it. When I left the University of Sydney I was the Australian Medical Association’s first assistant secretary general. Then I was the first to be in the role of education director for the Judicial Commission in New South Wales. Then I moved to a law firm and
Barbara Derham is director of Derham’s Foreshore Motor Inn in Whyalla. She has had 28 years experience in the accommodation industry, and was the first woman to chair Flag International, of which she remains a board member. She was the deputy mayor of the City of Whyalla and is a member of the Tourism Commission of South Australia. She has held many civic positions. She is married with four children. During the interview she was working at the motor inn switchboard to get some front-line experience, which she does once a month. She was interrupted by seven phone calls.
AIM: What do you consider the most important elements of management?
Derham: I would say having good leadership skills and being a good communicator and a good listener.
AIM: What do you understand “good leadership” to mean?
Derham: I see leadership as being concerned with setting a good example, whether it be in behavior, dress or manners. I don’t believe a good manager can lead unless they can do the job themselves: if you
The Reverend Doctor Gordon Moyes is superintendent of the Wesley Mission, the largest local-church organisation in Australia. He hosts the weekly television program Turn Round Australia and a four-hour weekly talk-back radio program Sunday Night Live with Gordon Moyes. He is president of the Rotary Club of Sydney, a member of the 1996 Prime Minister’s National Task Force on Youth Homelessness, and chairman of the board of several media and insurance companies. He has been married to Beverly since 1959 and has four children.
AIM: Why have you shown such an interest in management?
Moyes: As a minister of religion I undertook a study in the mid-1960s to see why churches in Australia do not usually grow beyond 250 people. In the United States churches often have between 5000 and 10,000 people. In South Korea, it can be in the hundreds of thousands. I concluded that it is because ministers are not taught management skills. So I went to some management courses at AIM and the Mount Eliza Business School.
AIM: Did you con
Stephen Blanch, 55, has been managing director of Eastern Energy since it split from the former State Electricity Commission of Victoria almost four years ago. Before joining Eastern Energy, he spent two years as the director of business development for Mission Energy Australia and four years as the managing director of a construction company in New Zealand, following a 30-year career with the SECV. In 1963 he obtained a diploma of electrical engineering, followed by a bachelor of electrical engineering, then a master of engineering science in 1973.
AIM: Did you decide to become a manager or did it just happen?
Blanch: I was a technical expert for the first four or five years, then I was given a small team to lead and it went from there. I never set myself the target of becoming the managing director of anything, I just did the best I possibly could.
AIM: Did you consider other career possibilities?
Blanch: I considered teaching, which I used to do part-time. I was offered the job senior lecturer in engineering t
Betty Byrne Henderson had relatively little experience in the automotive industry when she took over as governing director of the Byrne Group car dealership after the death of her husband in 1977. The group is now one of Queensland’s largest businesses and in 1995 it received the prestigious President’s Award from Ford Australia. Byrne Henderson recently sold the business to her son and holds seven directorships, including the Queensland Harness Racing Board and the Corrective Services Commission. She says there will be casualties as these organisations are transformed to run along private-sector lines.
AIM: Can management be taught or does it need to be learned on the job?
Byrne Henderson: You need the theoretical and the practical side to do it properly. A lot of it does come instinctively. There is a big difference between being managing director and just being into management – as governing director the importance was to have good management lines underneath me. The managing directors are there to put the