Jim Gill, 51, has been managing director of the Water Corporation of Western Australia since 1995. Before joining the Water Corporation, he spent seven years as chief executive officer of Westrail, and prior to that he held senior engineering and management positions in the highway field. In 1968 he graduated with a first-class honors degree in engineering from the University of Western Australia. He gained his PhD from Cambridge in advanced computer-aided design and in 1983 completed a Master in Public Administration at Harvard.
AIM: You have a distinguished background in engineering. Do you regard yourself as an engineer or a manager?
Gill: A manager. But in my position it is extremely useful to have worked as an engineer because you get a certain instinct about things. My career as a manager did not just happen. It was a decision I made when I was 22. I did a PhD in Britain and when I started I decided I wanted to go into administration. I followed this with a Master in Public Administration at Harvard. Had I stayed in the
Dr Daniel Norton is chief executive officer of the Hydro Electric Corporation of Tasmania. Before that he was secretary of the Tasmanian Department of Premier and Cabinet, deputy secretary of the Tasmanian Department of Treasury, and senior manager of corporate affairs at the Australian Wheat Board. He holds a PhD in economics and business from North Carolina State University.
AIM: You have managed Tasmania’s largest business since May 1996. What are the greatest challenges?
Norton: The challenge is to keep my eye on the ball, with 1700 employees, at the same time as being involved in determining how a part privatisation may occur. We have made major progress in reducing expenses, which are down by 4% every year for the past four years. In the past three years we have averaged $100 million in capital expenditure from internal funds, and we have significantly increased after-tax profit and paid back $250 million in debt. Hydro assets are long-term assets, built up over many years through debt financing: the corporation ha