John McGrath set to face the music, minus another ally

The revolving door at embattled McGrath real estate group has done another revolution with the departure of its finance director, Paul Hauenschild.

An 11 year veteran at the agency, Hauenschild was one of the architects of its disastrous 2015 float where investors took stock at $2.10 and have seen the price plummet to 65 cents.

He will be replaced by Glyn Wright, who was previously at lingerie group Bras N Things, and before that, from Woolworths, where he was head of Finance Transformation. Lets hope he can help transform the group.

Its been a role call of departures since the group went public, with more than half of the senior management jumping ship.

The rout started with the founder, John "Mr Sydney real estate" McGrath changed from being chief executive to being an executive director a year ago to be replaced by Cameron Judson.

McGrath remains the largest shareholder with 27 per cent meaning he has borne the brunt of the price daive.

But he has lost many of his mates, including long time-staffer Geoff Lucas, Karen Jacobs, Gary Vouris and Matt Lahood.

These were also some of the same agents that two weeks ago sold a block of shares they had assembled for its 2015 float. They abandoned ship at a $29.6 million discount to its public issue price.

McGrath, his chairman, Cass O'Connor and Judson, will face shareholders on November 22 for the annual general meeting at the McGrath head office in Sydney's eastern suburbs,

Good call?

The ATM fee frenzy has produced a pairing of two of CBD's favourite PR pariahs - Commonwealth Bank and 7-Eleven. CBA undoubtedly stole a march on its rivals announcing it would remove fees on its ATMs. By "its" though, it did not mean those owned by BankWest, which CBA of course owns.

This exception was dutifully reported by Fairfax Media and others on Sunday but by Tuesday BankWest had decided it needed to join the party and announced it will remove the fees on "its" ATMs - remember, the ones that belong to CBA but aren't "its"

Unfortunately BankWest doesn't mean "its" branded ATMs that sit in hundreds of 7-Eleven stores around the country being watched over by, CBD hopes, staff receiving their full entitlements.

Still it's hardly the first time someone has been gouged in a 7-Eleven in recent years.

Collaborative customer

When newly minted Sydney Airport chief executive Geoff Culbert taxis into his new desk in January waiting for him in the in-tray will be some form of new master plan draft to guide the development of his new business out to 2039.

Geoff Culbert knows how to collaborate.

Geoff Culbert knows how to collaborate. Photo: Louie Douvis

Culbert, who replaces the long-serving Kerrie Mather, will have many things to consider including how and where to build a big new terminal.

In those considerations, airlines, particularly Alan Joyce's Qantas, loom large. The land Qantas uses as its jet park is in line for be used for the new terminal. Not that Joyce minds, he told reporters in May that he'd love a one stop shop for his planes in Sydney.

Happily for Culbert - he is well acquainted with the flying Kangaroo thanks to his previous job with engineering giant GE which supplies things like engines to airlines.

Culbert's LinkedIn feed also features some very positive pieces about Qantas. There's a gush on a Qantas carbon offset program here, an enthusiastic promo for a Qantas pilot app there. Of course nothing out of the ordinary for a business wanting to get its collaborative customer co-pro on.

Not that there's anything wrong with any of that right? Far from it, it's one of the reasons he was picked.

"Geoff brings to Sydney Airport extensive commercial and operational experience and a track record of working closely and collaboratively with customers, business partners and government," chairman Trevor Gerber says.

The venues for any off site collaboration will need to be adjusted for the pay gulf between Joyce - who last year trousered almost $25 million - and Culbert who will receive $1.5 million in fixed annual remuneration, including super.

Of course he'll be eligible for short-term incentives of up to $1.5 million payable in cash, and long-term incentive equity awards worth up to $1.2 million, provided certain hurdles are met.

Culbert also qualified for a sign-on bonus made up of Sydney Airport shares worth $1.25 million and up to $1.065 million in cash "in recognition of the fact that Culbert will forgo certain incentives that he may have otherwise become entitled to". This increasingly common phenomenon CBD has decided to call the bonus you get when you're not getting your bonus.

For the record, Mather, who has been at the controls since 2002, earned $3.3 million last year, the same year Culbert joined GE.


This story John McGrath set to face the music, minus another ally first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.