Lost in the noise of Prime Ministerial “succession” matters in Canberra last week, there was another “succession” event that occurred; the unexpected and early departure of AGL CEO Andy Vesey which also occurred on Friday 24 August 2018.
Reported in the AFR and hinted all over the place, a key reason for Vesey’s “retirement” was the need to improve relations with Government. So writes Matthew Stevens in the AFR:
In the end, for reasons that stretch from the need to reset AGL relationships with governments to the way he was running the business (as opposed to the results he was generating), Vesey did not get the chance to complete his mission.
Much can be debated about AGL’s conduct and performance, but it seems a very disturbing sign that a key performance indicator of a private sector business CEO needs to be the maintenance of good relations with Government, which nowadays is a euphemism for being a vehicle for government policy.
So much for Milton Friedman’s the business of business is business concept:
There is one and only one social responsibility of business – to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game, which is to say, engages in open and free competition without deception or fraud.
This event also brings a whole new meaning to the duties of Australian directors to act in good faith in the best interests of the company and for a proper purpose when acting in good faith means behave lest the Government regulate/legislate the profit out of you.
What’s next? Having government agents embedded within companies to make sure they behave? Oh hang on ….