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Workshop 4

The Big Debate: That You’d Have To Be Mad To Be
A Company Director

7.30am - 9.30am, Wednesday 31 October 2012, Stamford Plaza, Auckland

A high performing board is central to good governance, but are directors’ responsibilities realistic?

  • Are talented people being put off taking up directorships?
  • How do you manage the risks in practice?
  • How does a director approve financial statements?
  • Who would sign a prospectus?
  • Do the regulators take a realistic view?
  • Are the risks and responsibilities worth the rewards?
  • What is the impact of the rise of litigation funders?


John Hagen
Ex-Chairman, Deloitte

John was a director of Feltex Carpets Limited for the period from 20 October 2005 until the appointment of receivers on 22 September 2006 and he currently holds a number of directorships including:

  • Board Member - Datacom Group Limited
  • Uniservices Ltd
  • Board Member - Hughes & Cossar Limited

John has previously been Chairman of New Zealand Debt Management Office Advisory Board, Chairman - University of Auckland Business School Advisory Board and a director of Trustees Executors Limited, Gough Gough & Hammer, Americas Cup Village, Ramset (NZ) Limited, the Auckland City Mission, Auckland Regional Chamber of Commerce and Deloitte Consulting Global.

These appointments have given John genuine exposure to issues of governance, organisational culture and the need for strong values and ethical standards.

In addition to John’s governance experience, he has an MBA majoring in finance from the University of British Columbia and a Master of Commerce with first class honours from the University of Auckland. He is a Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants, a Fellow and an accredited director of the Institute of Directors and a Fellow of the Arbitrators and Mediators Institute of New Zealand.

Professor Peter Watts
Associate Dean (Postgraduate), Faculty of Law, University of Auckland

Peter Watts is a Professor of Law at the University of Auckland. He is a graduate of Canterbury and Cambridge universities.

He joined the Law Faculty at Auckland in 1985 after four years as a law clerk then solicitor in Christchurch and Wellington.

His books include Watts, Campbell and Hare, Company Law in New Zealand (2011), and Directors’ Powers and Duties (2009). He is also the General Editor of Bowstead & Reynolds on Agency (19th ed, 2010).

He practises as an academic barrister, holding door tenancies at Bankside Chambers in Auckland, and Fountain Court Chambers, The Temple, London.

Watch interview with John Hagen and Professor Peter Watts here


Rod McGeoch
Chairman/Director, Various New Zealand & Australian corporations

Rod McGeoch has had and continues to enjoy a remarkable career at the forefront of business, sports administration and the legal profession.

He unites exemplary senior level management experience with an unparalleled commitment to achievement.

Perhaps best known as the leader of Sydney's successful Olympics 2000 bid, he is Chairman or Director of a wide range of major corporations and past Chairman of Corrs Chambers Westgarth, one of Australia's largest law firms.

He was described, in an ABN AMRO report, as one of Australasia's most influential Directors. His appointments included Chairman of Sky City Entertainment Group Limited, Vantage Private Equity Group Limited and BGP Investments/Holdings plc. He is also a Director of Ramsay Health Care Limited. He is a member of the Board of Destination NSW.

He is Co-Chairman of the Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum, a past President of the Law Society of NSW and a Member of the Order of Australia, awarded in recognition of his invaluable services to the legal profession.

Dame Rosanne Meo
Chairperson/Director, Various New Zealand & Australian corporations

Dame Rosanne Meo DNZM, OBE, a graduate of Auckland University, has worked as a company director for over 20 years. She was amongst the first professional women directors in New Zealand, the first woman to chair an SOE, (Forestry Corporation and TVNZ), and first woman chairman of a company listed on the NZSX.

Rosanne was also the first woman Chair of the Employers Federation in the early 1990s.

She was knighted in early 2012 for Services to Business and for her contribution to not for profit organisations. She had earlier received an OBE in 1993. Her directorships have been principally in New Zealand but also in Australia, and cover both public and private companies, as well as extensive work in the voluntary sector, particularly in the Arts and community support.

She is currently Chairman of Briscoes Group, the Auckland Philharmonia, the Real Estate Institute, and AMP Staff Superannuation and the AXA Staff Superannuation Schemes Limited and a director of Overland Footwear and James Dunlop Textiles. She is also a trustee of the Kelliher Trust and South Auckland Health Foundation.

Watch interview with Rod McGeoch and Dame Rosanne Meo here