Opinion Some bye week reading: The Shape Our Board Is In

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Lockhart Road

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The Shape Our Board Is In



The Club board of directors is in better shape than it was back in 2012 when it was reconstructed by the AFL. It still has squares, but less guise and more curves.

The 2020 vicissitude

Indeed we still have Chairman Moi as helmsman, but he seems to be a somewhat different Moi these days - thanks to Richo, who brought him in line for our 150th Year in general, for his measured speech on Gala Night in particular. If our chairman had not complied, had not made necessary adjustments to his behaviour, choice of verbiage, tone and his persona, we would not have Richo as CEO, or as anything. And we would be worse off as a consequence.

In fact the 150 Gala night was a huge success in many directions; it not only brought home to our chairman and board members just how meagre has been their contribution to 150 years of PAFC Identity, it had our senior coach sucking on humble straw, with subsequent positive effect on field in 2020. Let’s hope the 150 Gala night vicissitude is no temporary one.

Indeed we still have COI Cardone filling a chair as close to Moi as he can manoeuvre. But he, too, seems to have pulled his head in - the upshot of a few grenades of home truth being lobbed in his lap by one or three other directors and/or executives. Our Cos seems - I say again: seems - less destructive, less corrosive, less self-focused than he was, even appearing to contribute to the Bars project, despite its recent setback, plus other Club:AFL matters. But he still comes, in the last year of his third three-year term, with his McGuire Media conflict of interest intact and the least lines to his c.v. of all our directors. Well aware nowadays is Cos that eyes are upon ‘im.

Generally-accepted practices

Personally, I reckon nine years is long enough for any director to serve, bad or good, conflicted or not. Cardone should be gone, by rights, come one year more. Whether this generally-accepted and generally-practised exercise in corporate governance applies to chairman / deputy chairman is subject to debate. Perhaps it does on a case by case basis. Or not.

There are two others from October 2012 or soon after: Legal Eagle Restas and ... oh wait a minute ... yes, no ... Trevor Thiele, qualified accountant, director of international energy corporations, was unseated at the recent poll by Kathy Nagle. Now someone else on the board should be doing the off-duty number-crunching. This is not an evolution the Club was pleased about when it occurred; their involvement was akin to DBJ hanging back ball-watching as his direct opponent goes for the Sherrin and gets it. I heavily suspect that Trevor is nevertheless continuing with his Club work as if he remains a director. Such people in a footy club are priceless.

Looking good

Having Kathy elected, and Christine Zeitz appointed, looks good ... even better now that a serious play is under construction for a Port Adelaide AFLW side. It sure does look good, having two women on the board at such a juncture. But, actually, we have three. A feminine triumvirate. Holly has been there since 2016, is serving her second term (on our board, not in clink); she travelled up to China via HK that year, one of the Club gang heading to Shanghai for the function organised to officially recognise Gui Guojie as our Off-Field Messiah. Tom Jonas came up, too. He was serving time, real time, six weeks of it, for shaking Gaff by the back of the neck in preference to the hand. At the HKFC reception Tom, unmarried and still on the hunt at that time, paid new girl in town Holly close attention, as if she was an opposition forward, not unreasonable considering her status as a Weaglet. He’s captain now, is Tom, proudly wearing No. 1. It might appear that the close attention he paid that evening in June 2016 wasn’t wasted.

Holly was appointed by Moi to replace Richard Ryan, whom I had met in May 2014 when he flew up to HK for PAFC’s first international business luncheon and board meeting, both staged at the HKFC. I thought Richard was a great bloke, the raconteur sort of great bloke. We sat at the same table and discovered much in common: same age, same whitening hair, super-dry wit, intolerance of fools and posers, even ex-Army (Richard went to Duntroon to learn how to be an officer, gave up when he decided he was being trained by fools and posers). Moi didn’t like him and Richard didn’t like Moi. They were not on, or from, the same planet. See how much we two had in common? Replacing Richard Ryan with Holly Ransom could be compared to swapping Chips Rafferty with Kylie Minogue on the eve of filming 10,000 Horsemen.

Looking better

Getting back to looking good, this also applies to Club legends, on-field legends specifically, sitting on the board as much as it does females of the yet-to-become-legendary type. Gavin Wanganeen looks photogenic at the directors’ table ... just as he looked good, make that outstanding, when he presented the artwork he’d drawn and had framed for China’s visiting Premier Li Keqiang, prior to the first-round SCG match versus the Swans in March 2017. This was, you will recall, part of the lead-up to the inaugural AFL match at Jiangwan Stadium. Such moments are not just historical, they are one-offs, they are unique. Only Gav could’ve pulled that one off.

When it comes to electing directors, one wins and one loses. In gaining Gavin we lost George. Looking good (not that George is ugly) and keeping quiet took over from interrupting hours-long monologues from the head of the table. It replaced speaking up and speaking out for the Club. This was a tragedy, in fact, as George Fiacchi’s track record as a player, a private businessman and one of two One Club reconstructors and thus one of two Club saviours, when rolled into one, is self-evident, second to none. George was / is never afraid to make noise. Very likely he made too much of it for Chairman Moi’s upper-class ears (make that pseudo one-o’-the-boys ears) to withstand. There exists a rumour that George had an eye on KT’s job. There may be a second rumour: that our chairman personally coaxed a super-coy Gavin Wanganeen to run for election, knowing that the vote would see Gav displacing anyone, even George Fiacchi. The current system by which two directors are elected at three-year intervals is fragile.

Bar nun

Darren Cahill came on the board care-of our chairman and COI Cos. Good on ‘em. Darren was installed as their conduit to the coaching panel, the senior coach in particular. Darren surprised them. He instantly became more than their coach conduit. He became Killer Cahill. He is his father’s son, after all. We are so damn fortunate to have him as an appointed director. Imagine Killer and George pairing up versus the AFL on the Prison Bars. Imagine Killer Cahill and George Fiacchi on Footy Classified the week before the Collingwood game at Adelaide Oval. Taking on Eddie the Ex and Ross Lyin’ ... taking off their ties, ripping open their shirts to reveal one wearing underneath the Prison Bars, the other the 1914 Invincibles livery ... they’ll make Kane Cornes look like a nun.

This leaves Andrew Day. Not a lot is known about Andrew, and that’s fine considering his responsibility is international revenue particularly China. You never know when Peter Dutton is listening in, watching, rubbing his non-existent eyebrows up against the keyhole. We have discovered that China is more than China when it comes to partnerships, with MG / SAIC as the perfect example. I had a little to do with Andrew’s appointment. My colleague and I had been pressing Andrew Hunter for some time to get Andrew Day on the board as ‘China expert’. It didn’t look good, we kept preaching, to be involved in China, to be seeking revenue streams with a China connection, yet not have someone on our board that we could point to as representing our commitment to the marketplace. Just as it took us until the end of 2015 to get KT physically into China for the first time, it took us twice as long to get the then CEO to take his lead boots off and persuade our chairman to appoint Andrew Day as director.

Deep streams

Today of course China is a vastly different story, but it’s a story that even though it has gone sour it has yet to end. Any China story is inherently longer than any other. Beijing per the Chinese Communist Party has done stuff that makes me sad, even though I can read into it because I am, thanks to personal experience, more familiar than the average with China’s history and its patriotic determination to be taken seriously, to be acknowledged as equal at a bare minimum. I know I’m understating it, but this is not the Politics thread.

For our Club the key is to ensure our focus on China between 2013 and 2019 inclusive is taken advantage of, not wasted. China has many footholds in Australia via such corporates as SAIC et al. There are several others we have our sights on as partners for mutual benefit, one being ElectraNet, the SA power transmission utility 46% owned by China, which will build our UHV interconnector with NSW and was the vehicle by which we met up with Andrew Day in early 2015. We have discovered a winning style of dealing with these corporates by thinking laterally, and pooling assets at board and executive level. We won’t be able to ever construct the deep revenue streams we need from wholly Australian sources, streams that we should’ve created years ago instead of treading on eggshells while our board continued to eye China with suspicion and a petty cash frame of mind when investment was needed, then deciding the polar opposite when it wasn’t.

These deep revenue streams are crucial to the Club’s future, its very existence, by filling the coffers of Richo’s Chasing Greatness Fund, by financing our AFLW side ... also - hear this - by financing a third men’s team when the inevitable decision is taken sooner rather than later against retaining our AFL reserves in a state competition dictated to by tiny minds dead set against us playing among them with any sort of comfort let alone on-field victory.
 
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Lockhart Road

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You missed Kevin Osborn LR. Appointed June 2011 when the SANFL tried to take us over and AFL stepped in.
I didn’t exactly miss Kevin, REH, I confined mention of him to ‘deputy chairman’ in the sentence that covered nine-year maximum terms for directors but maybe not for the chairman and his deputy. Indeed I did not mention Kevin Osborn by name.

Personally I like and respect Kevin. I like his wife Helen a lot. They are both terrific supporters and servants of the Club. I remember after the 2017 Jiangwan Stadium match in the bar at the Portman Ritz Carlton - where you recovered your Club 1870 cap thanks to Jodie Fiacchi - Helen coming up to me, giving me a hug, and thanking me for what I’d contributed. It was worth a helluva lot, that hug.

Kevin performs his role admirably in my opinion. Being a dinky die accountant he is accused of ultra-conservatism. He was confirmed by the AFL in 2012, having been in the role twelve months, because they wanted an ultra-conservative in his position. Being Koch’s deputy I reckon requires such an approach, a foil for the type of TV personality president Koch was in 2012 - 2014 inclusive, much to the Club’s benefit at that time.

Kevin fades into the background. I have no problem with that. He vets every prospective director prior to their appointment or election. I have no problem with that either. He can be talked out of his conservatism, but you have to come up with a good argument. Those who don’t find him immovable, a cause for complaint.

He’s into his fourth term. That’s enough, perhaps. But unless he is replaced with somebody equally honest, hard-working and respected, an effective foil for Koch, I won’t mind him staying on awhile. He provides the continuity and stability on the board.
 

RussellEbertHandball

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Personally I like and respect Kevin. I like his wife Helen a lot. They are both terrific supporters and servants of the Club. I remember after the 2017 Jiangwan Stadium match in the bar at the Portman Ritz Carlton - where you recovered your Club 1870 cap thanks to Jodie Fiacchi - Helen coming up to me, giving me a hug, and thanking me for what I’d contributed. It was worth a helluva lot, that hug.
Yes I remember that as we were on one side of the bar for an hour or so, hat recovered from Jodie, and we then went to the otherside where Kevin, Helen, CD and a few others were there and Kevin bought us a drink straight away.

I sat next to Kevin and his mate John at the last 2 Magpies trial games in the Williams Family stand a couple of months ago.

It was the late Natman from this board that gave me an introduction to John - who had been involved in recruiting young players for Port for over 30 years - and we chatted on the phone and he set up a meeting at the Grange Jetty Cafe back in late 2011 with Kevin after he had been on the board for about 5 months. John came along and Kevin gave my brother in-law and I 90 minutes of his time, and explained the club's position, the AFL's workings, the relationship with the SANFL, some of the things the club was going to do and he listened to the things my brother in law and I had been trying to do to help the club and some of our suggestions. I left that meeting very confident we had appointed a very good operator to the board.

I haven't changed my opinion on that over the last decade. Helen is also fantastic. We always have a chat, which is a lot less these days compared to the after game functions at Alberton back in 2012 and 2013.

Kevin originally replaced Darryl Wakelin whose 3 year term ended in December 2013 at the AGM, so I assume Kevin's current term will end at the AGM in February 2023. No idea if he wants another 3 years after that.

But he was pretty relaxed at both games and was confident the club had gotten over the worst of the Covid hit from last year. He was happy with the way the precinct redevelopment was going. He told me a bit about Christine Zeitz as he has known her for a few years and said she is an extremely capable individual.

Over the 2 games we mainly talked footy and about the players we were watching. Kevin did tell me the first thing John asked when he became a director in mid 2011 was what did he think of Ollie Wines? John wanted us to draft him 18 months before we did.
 

PowerKat

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Thanks LR - interesting insights and always enjoy reading your views. Particularly interested to read that Cos has 'pulled his head in'.

For those who have queried Gavin's value, I've always believed there is value having a player involved, and a player with somewhat recent experience in the game. If they have business experience /acumen, is secondary as this comes from other board members. Diversity is proven to be valuable in leadership roles and adds to the success of the organisation.

This week, a friend pointed me to this article which others might find of interest (which prompted me to post): Why every board needs Indigenous directors (companydirectors.com.au)
Closing para: "Deciding to have women on your board doesn’t make you diverse if they went to similar private schools to the men. You need broader diversity to give you a much better understanding of the social contract you’re part of. And if there is one group in Australia who understands the necessity of the group above self, it’s Aboriginal people. We bring that way of viewing things as a whole of community that, quite frankly, has been lacking in government and business for a very, very long time."
 

glitch01

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Interesting read.
Still not sold on Wanganeen being on the board. I’m sure he does a lot of stuff we don’t see, what concerns me is the stuff we do see often involves Essendon.


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Portology

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If Maguire succeeds in having his personal proxies roll the Collingwood board it will make Cardone's position on our board even less tenable.

 

Lockhart Road

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An item I omitted to include concerns Frances Adamsom who is coming from DFAT in Canberra home to Adelaide as SA’s next Governor.

Not only was she involved with our China Strategy when she served as our Ambassador in Beijing, her daughter Claire worked for two or three years at Alberton with the PAFC China team.

As SA Governor she will be ideally placed to assist with presence and advice on such projects mentioned in the OP concerning ElectraNet. Also our redevelopment, Chasing Greatness, frowning at and expanding the aforementioned tiny minds in the SANFL, etc.

I look forward to seeing her on the screen as our VIP guest at Adelaide Oval asap after her homecoming.
 

Relativity

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The Shape Our Board is in

These deep revenue streams are crucial to the Club’s future, its very existence, by filling the coffers of Richo’s Chasing Greatness Fund, by financing our AFLW side ... also - hear this - by financing a third men’s team when the inevitable decision is taken sooner rather than later against retaining our AFL reserves in a state competition dictated to by tiny minds dead set against us playing among them with any sort of comfort let alone on-field victory.
Great read as per form LR. You are in my top top 5 must read posters on a very talented board. By the above bolded quote I gather Richo's intent is to keep a Port side in the SNAFUL when we enter a reserves team in the "AFL" reserves comp? I think this is important along with re-establishing our zone and under 18's. It is vital to maintaining a community link to the AFL side.
 

Lockhart Road

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Great read as per form LR. You are in my top top 5 must read posters on a very talented board. By the above bolded quote I gather Richo's intent is to keep a Port side in the SNAFUL when we enter a reserves team in the "AFL" reserves comp? I think this is important along with re-establishing our zone and under 18's. It is vital to maintaining a community link to the AFL side.
Thanks mate, much appreciated.

Richo’s goal, CD’s goal, Kochie’s goal, the Club’s goal, our goal, is of course achieving the best of all worlds. This will take a lot of revenue, continuous funding, etc. as I’ve mentioned and as everyone realises without being reminded.

Indeed the future and makeup of the Port Magpies, and consequently the future of the Prison Bars, is nebulous.

I cannot see us remaining long in the SANFL the way we are. I can, however, see the longevity of the Prison Bars as clearly as I can see the longevity of people power, strategy and endurance ultimately carrying the day.

I can also see us retaining or re-establishing our recruitment zones, strengthening our heartland and key specific community links to our One Club ... just because all of this is right and just and what we are and will remain.
 

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Lockhart Road

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Thanks LR - interesting insights and always enjoy reading your views. Particularly interested to read that Cos has 'pulled his head in'.

For those who have queried Gavin's value, I've always believed there is value having a player involved, and a player with somewhat recent experience in the game. If they have business experience /acumen, is secondary as this comes from other board members. Diversity is proven to be valuable in leadership roles and adds to the success of the organisation.

This week, a friend pointed me to this article which others might find of interest (which prompted me to post): Why every board needs Indigenous directors (companydirectors.com.au)
Closing para: "Deciding to have women on your board doesn’t make you diverse if they went to similar private schools to the men. You need broader diversity to give you a much better understanding of the social contract you’re part of. And if there is one group in Australia who understands the necessity of the group above self, it’s Aboriginal people. We bring that way of viewing things as a whole of community that, quite frankly, has been lacking in government and business for a very, very long time."
Thank you, Kat.

I wonder how often Paul Vandenbergh has been asked to join the board of directors.

What an asset.
 

PowerLil

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Thanks mate, much appreciated.

Richo’s goal, CD’s goal, Kochie’s goal, the Club’s goal, our goal, is of course achieving the best of all worlds. This will take a lot of revenue, continuous funding, etc. as I’ve mentioned and as everyone realises without being reminded.

Indeed the future and makeup of the Port Magpies, and consequently the future of the Prison Bars, is nebulous.

I cannot see us remaining long in the SANFL the way we are. I can, however, see the longevity of the Prison Bars as clearly as I can see the longevity of people power, strategy and endurance ultimately carrying the day.

I can also see us retaining or re-establishing our recruitment zones, strengthening our heartland and key specific community links to our One Club ... just because all of this is right and just and what we are and will remain.
Remaining financially viable into the future will be tough work as it stands with the snafl / sma sucking the life out of us. Essendon, being the home team in the dreamtime game stood to make $1 mil if held at the MCG. Now with a sell out crowd in Perth they will 'break even' and make the million. How can we compete with that? We need almost 40k to register any sort of profit. Until we distance ourselves from the sanfl and get a fair stadium deal our Board and Executives will have their work cut out.
 

Lockhart Road

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Remaining financially viable into the future will be tough work as it stands with the snafl / sma sucking the life out of us. Essendon, being the home team in the dreamtime game stood to make $1 mil if held at the MCG. Now with a sell out crowd in Perth they will 'break even' and make the million. How can we compete with that? We need almost 40k to register any sort of profit. Until we distance ourselves from the sanfl and get a fair stadium deal our Board and Executives will have their work cut out.
Concur. We will all have our work cut out. It’s what we do.
 

ibd77

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Remaining financially viable into the future will be tough work as it stands with the snafl / sma sucking the life out of us. Essendon, being the home team in the dreamtime game stood to make $1 mil if held at the MCG. Now with a sell out crowd in Perth they will 'break even' and make the million. How can we compete with that? We need almost 40k to register any sort of profit. Until we distance ourselves from the sanfl and get a fair stadium deal our Board and Executives will have their work cut out.
Re-develop Alberton into midsize stadium 25-30k similar to Geelong's and play all our home games there.

It's probably only a matter of time before AO is in financial sh*t and will seek an government handout to keep it operating with the SMA (SANFL & SACA) allowed to keep mismanaging it.
 

PowerKat

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Thank you, Kat.

I wonder how often Paul Vandenbergh has been asked to join the board of directors.

What an asset.
No doubt a quality person.

Probably an ideal option, if asked, although he did amazing work in his role- might prefer the operational side considering he’s doing similar work with basketball now.
 

portly

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Thanks LR.

Christine Zeitz - I was most impressed when researching her background and skill set.

Might she possibly become our new President upon Kochie's leaving?
 

portly

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Our new president simply must be killer Cahill.

I will be crushed if it's not.

He is my black and white knight to take us back to what we once were.

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No, I want someone competent in boardroom and competing entity politics, eastern seaboard savvy, and with a record in getting her own way in the business sphere.

Darren can be her heavy and masses communicator :)
 

Lockhart Road

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Brilliant read Lockhart Road . Thanks for bringing your undoubtedly erudite literary skills and insight for our education and entertainment.

Killer Cahill is the big dog that can bring some bite to the board.
Apologies for not thanking you earlier, Ford.

I always remember you substituting for shy little me back in March 2013 and opening the now certified legendary thread remembering Peter Chant.

Look what that got started.
 

Lockhart Road

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No doubt a quality person.

Probably an ideal option, if asked, although he did amazing work in his role- might prefer the operational side considering he’s doing similar work with basketball now.
I reckon he can do it all.

The impression he made when leading the SAASTA Indgenous students on tour here, then Beijing / Great Wall, at end of 2015 is lasting. Takes no BS, exudes natural leadership.

Trust the Club won’t lose him completely.
 

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