FEI's mentoring program – some comments from our mentees

Tell us about your career path: 

I started my career in sales and then marketing. I had no particular desire or interest to enter the world of finance. However, a combination of good timing a little bit of luck Canning35provided me with an opportunity to join Diageo in London, a company which I had admired for some time. I commenced as a business analyst on a temporary contract. Since then my career has followed a path encompassing a variety of roles across finance, strategy, corporate development and then out of the function into general management roles. I returned to finance about three years ago as the CFO of Blackmores.

What keeps you awake at night?

My young daughter! Apart from that, thinking about how our strategy will transform our company over the next five years and the things we need to be putting in place over the next 18 months, to ensure we are in the best position to execute on our long term strategic plans.

The CFO role has changed dramatically over the last decade, what further changes do you anticipate? Continued broadening of responsibilities beyond delivering on the core financial disciplines. This is already largely occurring but the lines between a CFO and a COO will become increasingly blurred. Further automation of finance processes beyond transaction processing will create capacity for the CFO role to become more involved in the operational management of the business.

How far out can a CFO plan, given the pace of change at present?

I think the answer is dependent on the industry sector, the structural dynamics at play and the pace of change impacting established business models. In some industries, planning five years and beyond with a high degree of confidence in future income streams, costs and returns can be relatively accurately determined. However, in industries facing digital disruption, changing consumer purchasing behaviours and relatively low barriers to entry, shorter term horizons of no more than three years accompanied by a more flexible and nimble approach to adjusting these plans, is more appropriate.

FEI started its mentoring program in 2003, with six prominent chief financial officers mentoring aspiring young financial executives from outside their own companies. The program has grown significantly since then. In 2017/18 about 55 companies are involved, with 66 mentees in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

Most of the mentors are the Group CFOs of major companies; in some cases they are divisional CFOs in the largest companies or former CFOs who are now CEOs, COOs, company directors or business unit heads. The companies represented include listed entities, the Australian operations of overseas listed companies, private companies and government-owned companies. Many have been FEI mentors for several years.

The mentees are nominated by a senior executive (normally the Group CFO) of a company that supports our membership and mentoring program. These companies are usually major companies in Australia.

CFOs in the Mentoring Program

CFO mentors in the FEI Mentoring Program for 2017/8 are listed below. Companies that nominated a mentee are denoted by an asterix (*). Note that some companies support the program by nominating a mentee or providing a mentor, but not necessarily both.

We are currently in the process of compiling individual profiles on each mentor and please click on highlighted names.

Company   Mentor
AGL Energy Limited *  Brett Redman
AP Eagers Limited  Sophie Moore

APN Outdoors Limited *

 Wayne Castle
ASX Limited *  Ramy Aziz
Aurizon Holdings Limited *

Ausgrid *

 Michael Bradburn

Ausgrid *

 Joseph Pizzinga

Ausgrid *

 Ayten Saridas

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited *  Michelle Jablko
Australia Post *  Janelle Hopkins

Bank of Queensland Limited *

 Michael Bencsik

Blackmores *

 Aaron Canning

Bluescope Limited *  Charlie Elias
Brisbane Airport Corporation *  David Malek
Challenger Limited  Andrew Tobin
Clayton Utz *
Cleanaway Waste Management Limited *  Brendan Gill
Coca Cola Amatil Limited *  Martyn Roberts
Commonwealth Bank of Australia *  David Craig
Commonwealth Bank of Australia *  David Durante
Commonwealth Bank of Australia *  Michael Ford
Commonwealth Bank of Australia *

 Andrew Morgan

Crown Resorts Limited *  Ken Barton
CSL Limited *  David Lamont
Dexus Property Group *  Alison Harrop
DuluxGroup Limited *  Stuart Boxer

Equity Trustees *

 Philip Gentry

Flight Centre Limited

 Adam Campbell

Frasers Property Australia *  Matthew Knox
George Weston Foods Limited *  Lorna Raine
Geotech Group  Dieter Adamsas
GrainCorp Limited *  Alistair Bell
Grocon  Kieran Pryke
Group of 100  Peter Meehan
Huawei Technologies (Australia) Pty Limited  Luke Austin
Ixom *  Bryce Wolfe
KPMG *
Lend Lease *  Tarun Gupta
Marsh Pty Ltd *
Metcash Trading Limited  Brad Soller
Minter Ellison  Janet Young
Mirvac Group *  Shane Gannon
Monash University *
Myer Holdings Limited *  Grant Devonport
Nufarm Limited *  Paul Binfield
Orora Limited *  Stuart Hutton
Perpetual Limited *  Gillian Larkins
Primary Health Care Limited *  Malcolm Ashcroft
Qantas  Tino La Spina
SCA Property Group  Mark Fleming
Seek  Geoff Roberts
Seven West Media Limited *  Warwick Lynch
Sonic Healthcare Limited  Chris Wilks
Stockland *  Tiernan O'Rourke
Tabcorp Holdings Limited *
Tatts Group Limited *  Neale O'Connell
The George Institute for Global Health  Tim Regan
The Star Entertainment Group Limited *  Chad Barton
Transurban *  Adam Watson
Treasury Wine Estates Limited *
UBS AG  Nick Hughes
University of Melbourne *  Allan Tait
Vicinity Centres *  Richard Jamieson
Village Roadshow Limited *  Julie Raffe
Virgin Australia Holdings Limited *
Viva Energy Australia Pty Limited *  Guy Farrands
WaterNSW  Daniel Lucas
Westpac Banking Corporation *  David Lees
WiseTech Global  Andrew Cartledge
Former CFO of Amcor Limited  Peter Day
Former CFO of Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited  Peter Marriott
Former CFO Brambles Limited  Zlatko Todorcevski
Former CFO of Treasury Wine Estates Limited  Tony Reeves
Executive and NED of various companies  Sara Watts

FEI's mentoring program – some comments from our Mentors

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