It’s unlikely at the time of the event that Anderson knew his new boss. They both had a good chat, according to people present.
Of course, one of Ita’s first jobs will be to help decide whether or not to give Anderson the top job on a permanent basis. Ando, who missed out to Michelle Guthrie last time round, is popular with staff and considered a safe and competent pair of hands.
Applications for the job close on Friday but we hear he won’t wait that long before sending in his resume.
Hounsell’s full hands
HelloWorld, the travel agency that sprang to prominence over its dealings with Finance Minister Mathias Cormann and US Ambassador Joe Hockey, is no doubt hoping for a quieter week.
The Melbourne company’s chairman, Garry Hounsell, is at least doing his bit to calm things down. In recent days he’s dropped almost $150,000 buy an extra 30,000 shares. His total stake sits at 108,500 shares. Supportive or what?
As chair, Hounsell has been steadfast defending his chief executive and federal Liberal fundraising boss Andrew Burnes from allegations his friendship with Cormann and Hockey crossed the line.
There is never a dull moment when it comes to Hounsell, who is also chairman of struggling retailer Myer and plonk producer Treasury Wine Estates.
Myer has been a disastrous investment and counts a very upset Solly Lew as one of its biggest shareholders. The upcoming half-year results represent new boss John King’s first Christmas trading period and chance to wow the market. Don’t hold your breath.
Then there’s Treasury, which has inexplicably lost two of its senior executives in the past month, throwing succession plans out the window.
It’s no secret Treasury’s former Asia boss Peter Dixon is off to rival winemakers at the Carlyle Group, but the circumstances behind former chief operating officer Robert Foye’s abrupt departure in late January is still a mystery as closely guarded as the nuclear codes.
A big bank tussle
Spare a thought for poor old CBA boss Matt Comyn who was forced, at very late notice, to cancel the company’s media love-in earlier this month when NAB announced Ken Henry’s impromptu retirement plans and Andrew Thorburn’s near immediate departure.
After all, why take the spotlight off a rival’s implosion?
CBA’s media team rescheduled the event for Thursday night. But they’ve encountered another clash in the form of Westpac, which is hosting a soiree in Sydney to mark the launch of former chief executive David Morgan’s surprisingly candid book, An Extraordinary Life.
As a former bank boss and senior Treasury official, Morgan has some pulling power.
Current Westpac boss Brian Hartzer will give a speech and former PM Paul Keating and former Premier Bob Carr are expected to attend, among many others. (Henry, who worked with Morgan at Treasury, is considered a very long shot.)
Morgan, who pioneered the child-actor-turned-bank-boss gig long before CBA’s Ian Narev hit the scene, has set tongues wagging with the revelations in the book of a mid-1990s attempt to merge Westpac with CBA.
It’s a great story but we are more excited by frank passages about how Morgan wooed his future wife, then Labor MP Ros Kelly, when they were both living in Canberra in the late 1970s.
The book recounts how Kelly, who was in the midst of a “doomed marriage” to The Australian’s future political doyen Paul Kelly, was pursued by Morgan “with a determination that verged on obsessive”.
Morgan also thought it wise to tell his Liberal Treasurer at the time, John Howard, about his burgeoning relationship with someone from across the political divide.
“Thank you, David, that’s your business,” replied Howard, who apparently later admitted such a relationship wouldn’t be tolerated in modern politics.
The rest, as they say, is history. Morgan and Ros Kelly got hitched and have been inseparable ever since.
Samantha is the The Age’s CBD columnist. She recently covered Victorian and NSW politics and business for News Corp, and previously worked for the Australian Financial Review.