Picking on Fairfax directors has been such an easy sport over the past few years that it barely pays to bother. The dysfunctional board’s ‘head in the sand’ attitude to some of the competitive threats faced by the business seemed obvious to almost all outside and inside the company, just not those sitting in the boardroom.
The promotion of Roger Corbett – who successfully ran Woolworths for many years – into the Fairfax chairman’s seat should at least bring the possibility of a fresh approach (we’ll try to ignore the fact that we once saw Corbett nodding off at a Fairfax annual meeting, as we also found those proceedings fatiguing).
Last night’s Lateline Business program on the ABC, which you can view here, included host Ali Moore’s interview with Corbett. The difficulty I had transcribing the following short part of that interview might say something about the prospects of a needed revolution at Fairfax. Transcripts never quite capture the moment, but let’s just say I’m not flushed with inspiration.
Ali Moore: Do you personally, though, do you have a vision of how you take an old media company into a new age?
Roger Corbett: Do I have an exact vision? No. I don’t think anyone does. Is there going to be a process by which ahh… Fairfax… umm… positions itself in the all the variables that are currently going on to ensure that we are, we have as wide a… a… a… a scope of options as we possibly can? Yes that’s, that is certainly what we’ll be trying to do together.
Well, I’m glad they’re certainly going to try to do that together. Though I’m not sure what ‘that’ is, or whether the board truly does either.
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