CBD Melbourne: The return of the Grech

“He left the firm in 2017 after its decades-long growth and change under his leadership,” it continues. Change is certainly one way of putting it. Slater & Gordon became the country’s first listed firm, joining the bourse at $1 per share in 2007. Certainly, Grech navigated the ambulance chasers through some significant growth, with its share price hitting $8 several years later. But he later oversaw huge losses and a near-$1 billion write-down that slashed 99 per cent of the company’s value and left its carcass in the hand of hedge funds. Perhaps clients looking for advice on strategic development might like to know about the day in June 2015 that the company admitted it had made a $90 million error in its accounts. Or the ludicrous profit guidance it provided to investors a few months later, ditched after just weeks. But hey, maybe that’s just us. GROUNDWORKS UNDER KING COAL Mike Henry's elevation to BHP’s top job has ended speculation about who would succeed Andrew Mackenzie as the Big Australian’s chief executive. But it has set off a new round of murmurs about the fate of his one-time leadership rival Peter Beaven. As reported here in September, chief financial officer Beaven pulled the pin on the leadership race, citing family reasons to those within BHP’s Melbourne headquarters. If family reasons really were to blame for the aborted leadership bid wouldn’t they also make it difficult for Beaven to perform the equally taxing job running the company’s complex finances? Mike Henry will be in the hot seat at BHP.Credit:Matt Golding Regardless, it’s very common for a new CEO to change the senior executive ranks. For example, Rio Tinto’s iron ore boss Andrew Harding resigned shortly after he was beaten to the top job by Jean-Sebastien Jacques. Meanwhile, Mackenzie’s admirable goal to increase the number of women in BHP executive roles remains unfulfilled. As we wrote last month, just 420 of 1626 managers are women. The name most frequently mentioned as a rising star is recently promoted chief commercial officer Vandita Pant. If Beaven was to leave, could there be a second promotion for Pant in the space of just 12 months? TEA WITH A BILLIONAIRE And while one mining giant was finalising its leadership, another had dispatched its chief for a week of local site visits and fireside chats with Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Glencore chief executive Ivan Glasenberg was spotted earlier this week at the Commonwealth Parliament Offices in Sydney heading to see Morrison (Labor leader Anthony Albanese was out of town). Glasenberg, meanwhile, boards Glencore’s Zurich-bound Gulfstream G550 on Friday. FEUD OVER ESTATE RAGES ON It’s been 10 years since Macarthur Coal's chief executive Ken Talbot died in a plane crash above the Congo, and yet the tragedy remains front of mind in the Supreme Court of Queensland where a feud over his billion-dollar estate rages on. And in latest developments, one of Melbourne’s highest-profile legal outfits, Arnold Bloch Leibler, has emerged as a new player in the proceedings. Mr Talbot’s estate was worth about $1.1 billion when he was killed. He owned a $22 million villa in Lake Como, Italy; an apartment in Paris; two private jets (one a Bombardier Global 5000); and millions of dollars in shares. And while the will has not been contested, it has taken more than nine years for the estate to be finalised and for the late coal baron’s assets to be liquidated by the administrator, Bill Boyd, with the family missing out on investment proceeds in the meantime. It’s well known that Talbot’s two younger daughters and second wife Amanda Talbot are taking action against Boyd’s legal outfit, Boyd Legal, claiming a breach of duty of care resulting in a financial loss. But in June Mrs Talbot added ABL to a statement of claim, alleging that the firm also failed in its duty of care to give her proper advice, causing her to lose money. She hired ABL in August 2010 regarding her late husband’s estate, including helping her review and understand the will, as well as the structure of the Talbot Group. She alleges the law firm did not keep her apprised of important information about the estate and the will. Critically, Mrs Talbot says that had ABL notified her about Boyd Legal’s failure to formalise a will that was drafted in 2008, she would never have appointed Bill Boyd as her solicitor, nor as administrator and trustee of the estate. Mrs Talbot has elected to have the case heard without a jury. A spokesman from ABL said the firm could not comment on the matter before the court. 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. Kylar Loussikian is The Sydney Morning Herald's CBD columnist. Most Viewed in National Loading
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“He left the firm in 2017 after its decades-long growth and change under his leadership,” it continues.

Change is certainly one way of putting it. Slater & Gordon became the country’s first listed firm, joining the bourse at $1 per share in 2007.

Certainly, Grech navigated the ambulance chasers through some significant growth, with its share price hitting $8 several years later. But he later oversaw huge losses and a near-$1 billion write-down that slashed 99 per cent of the company’s value and left its carcass in the hand of hedge funds.

Perhaps clients looking for advice on strategic development might like to know about the day in June 2015 that the company admitted it had made a $90 million error in its accounts. Or the ludicrous profit guidance it provided to investors a few months later, ditched after just weeks.

But hey, maybe that’s just us.

GROUNDWORKS UNDER KING COAL

Mike Henry’s elevation to BHP’s top job has ended speculation about who would succeed Andrew Mackenzie as the Big Australian’s chief executive.

But it has set off a new round of murmurs about the fate of his one-time leadership rival Peter Beaven.

As reported here in September, chief financial officer Beaven pulled the pin on the leadership race, citing family reasons to those within BHP’s Melbourne headquarters. If family reasons really were to blame for the aborted leadership bid wouldn’t they also make it difficult for Beaven to perform the equally taxing job running the company’s complex finances?

Mike Henry will be in the hot seat at BHP.Credit:Matt Golding

Regardless, it’s very common for a new CEO to change the senior executive ranks. For example, Rio Tinto’s iron ore boss Andrew Harding resigned shortly after he was beaten to the top job by Jean-Sebastien Jacques.

Meanwhile, Mackenzie’s admirable goal to increase the number of women in BHP executive roles remains unfulfilled. As we wrote last month, just 420 of 1626 managers are women.

The name most frequently mentioned as a rising star is recently promoted chief commercial officer Vandita Pant. If Beaven was to leave, could there be a second promotion for Pant in the space of just 12 months?

TEA WITH A BILLIONAIRE

And while one mining giant was finalising its leadership, another had dispatched its chief for a week of local site visits and fireside chats with