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26 Aug 2020

Angus Armour, Australian Institute of Company Directors

Australia: Statement by CEO of Institute of Company Directors’ on AMP and Rio Tinto cases

26 August 2020

Over recent days much has been said and written regarding the actions of AMP and Rio Tinto, and their consequences. While the full facts of each case are not publicly known, it is clear that the conduct in these instances has fallen short of community, stakeholder and shareholder expectations. Poor process or judgement in decision-making has caused harm both to stakeholders and to corporate reputations.

The role of a director often involves weighing complex matters and decisions to safeguard the long-term interests of our organisation. Those long-term interests extend beyond profit and shareholder return, to consider the impact of organisational decision-making on employees, clients, suppliers and the broader community. [...]

Equally there are decisions and matters where our interests are clear. Boards must set a clear tone from the top on their cultural expectations of management and of themselves. Key decisions will be seen as tangible evidence of what is valued and prioritised. First and foremost must be a culture of respect and a recognition that management and boards must demonstrate actions and consequences for cases of sexual harassment in the workplace. [...]


Looking ahead, we will continue to encourage members to take a long-term view of organisational interest. The destruction of ancient Aboriginal rock shelters at Juukan Gorge is a stark example of the stakeholder voice having been lost in a corporate decision-making process. To that end, we are developing a resource to support members in bringing stakeholder considerations to the board table. [...]

Part of the following timelines

Australia: Rio Tinto mining blast destroys ancient Aboriginal sacred site

Australia: AMP chairman resigns & senior executive demoted over the handling of sexual harassment complaint