Ex-CBA and ASB CEO Ralph Norris named as 1 of 3 new non-executive directors to Treasury's board

Ex-CBA and ASB CEO Ralph Norris named as 1 of 3 new non-executive directors to Treasury's board

Ralph Norris, the former CEO of Commonwealth Bank of Australia, ASB and Air New Zealand, has been appointed as a non-executive director to the Treasury's Board.

Norris is among three new non-executive director appointments made by Secretary to the Treasury Gabriel Makhlouf. The other two are Vice-Chancellor of the University of Otago Professor Harlene Hayne, and Whaimutu Dewes, who is chairman of Aotearoa Fisheries and is a director on the boards of Contact Energy, Housing New Zealand Corporation, Ngati Porou Seafoods, Ngati Porou Forestry and Ngati Porou Holding Company..

“I am pleased to have these three highly-qualified and well-respected individuals join our Board. They each bring a range of valuable skills and experience from leading large organisations, and will further strengthen the public and private sector governance expertise that the Treasury can draw from,” Makhlouf said.

“We have a strong Board that challenges us and keeps us on our toes, helping ensure our strategy, capability and performance make the best possible contribution to raising living standards for New Zealanders.”

The appointments are effective from the beginning of 2013.

The new non-executive directors join existing board members are Makhlouf, Treasury Deputy Chief Executive Vicky Robertson, and non-executive directors Paul Baines, Susan Macken and  Joan Withers. Makhlouf said Withers has temporarily stood aside from the Board to avoid any perceived or real conflicts of interest created by her role chairing Mighty River Power, which the Government plans to sell up to 49% of through an initial public offering.

Here are the biographies of Treasury's non-executive Board members

· Sir Ralph Norris serves on the boards of Fonterra Co-operative Group, Fonterra Shareholder Fund and Origin Energy. He is a member of the Council of the University of Auckland, a Trustee of the Starship Foundation and the Woolf Fisher Trust, and a Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Management and the New Zealand Computer Society. His 40-year career in banking included roles as Chief Executive of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and ASB Bank, and he is also the former Chief Executive of Air New Zealand. Sir Ralph was formerly Chairman of the New Zealand Bankers’ Association, Australian Bankers’ Association and the New Zealand Business Roundtable, and was previously a Director of the Business Council of Australia. Sir Ralph was made a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2009.

· Professor Harlene Hayne is Vice-Chancellor of the University of Otago, where she has helped to lead the commercialization of the University’s intellectual property and built strong research links with the private sector. Her current Fellowships include the Royal Society of New Zealand and the American Psychological Society, and she has served on the Royal Society’s Academy Council, the Marsden Fund Council, and the New Zealand National Science Panel. She is Co-Chair of the Office of the Prime Minister’s Science Advisory Committee Working Party on Reducing Social and Psychological Morbidity during Adolescence. Professor Hayne was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2009 for her services to scientific and medical research.

· Mr Whaimutu Dewes is the Chairman of Aotearoa Fisheries Limited and is a director on the boards of Contact Energy, Housing New Zealand Corporation, Ngati Porou Seafoods, Ngati Porou Forestry and Ngati Porou Holding Company. He has held directorships on Te Ohu Kaimoana, the Sealord Group, Television New Zealand and the AMP New Zealand Advisory Board. His previous roles include senior management positions at Fletcher Challenge and the Department of Maori Affairs. Mr Dewes holds a Masters Degree in Public Administration from Harvard University and Bachelors Degrees in Arts and Law from Victoria University. He is of Ngati Porou and Ngati Rangitihi descent.

· Mr Paul Baines has a significant background in financial and strategic management. He sits on the boards of the Institute of Economic Research, the Todd Corporation and the New Zealand School of Music. He is a former Chair of Barnardos and has served on the boards of the Reserve Bank and Telecom. He is a member of the Government’s Regulatory Responsibility Bill Taskforce.

· Dr Susan Macken is an experienced company director and consultant. She is a director of the Bank of New Zealand, Fertility Associates and Ultimate Care Group Ltd. She is Chair of Crown Research Institute Environmental Science and Research. Previous directorships have included Southern Cross Healthcare, the NZ Racing Industry Board and the NZ Trade Development Board. She has worked for the World Bank as an economist.

· Ms Joan Withers is a full-time company director with significant senior executive and corporate governance experience. She is Chair of Mighty River Power Ltd, Deputy Chair of Television New Zealand and Chair of Auckland International Airport Ltd. She was previously Chief Executive of Fairfax Media in New Zealand. Ms Withers has temporarily stood aside from the Board in order to avoid any perceived or real conflicts of interest created by her role as Chair of Mighty River Power Ltd.

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Doesn't anyone question the appropriateness of such an elite group of members of the public having such a strategic insight to the thoughts and directions of Treasury?
Are the Board agendas, papers and minutes made public?   
http://www.treasury.govt.nz/abouttreasury/treasuryboard/tsyboard-charter.pdf
 
If not made public - then are these documents subject to the OIA - or would they be withheld under the 'free and frank advice' flagship (excuse)?

My thoughts exactly. Mirrors Don Brash (RB Governor, National Party Leader, ANZ Board member, ACT party leader).