In this book six internationally eminent Australians, leaders in their fields of industry and science, offer their views on the outlook for Australia and Australians.
It was not a task for which they volunteered: some required a degree of arm twisting — protesting that as their jobs require them to live abroad, they did not want to be seen offering gratuitous advice to a country where they no longer reside. However, once persuaded that they could make a contribution, each put in significant effort to be thoughtful and objective.
They were also generous with their time. It is probably true that time is always a CEO's most precious commodity, but circumstances conspired to make it even more so for several of them.
Jac Nasser was in the throes of an internal battle at Ford — one that ultimately cost him his job — when I visited him at the company's global headquarters outside Detroit. It was undoubtedly the most critical moment in his professional life, but had it not been for the TV crews hovering in the foyer below, you would never have known it: Nasser talked of Australia for over an hour with a passion and single-mindedness that belied the circumstances. Then he put on his jacket and went down to face the media. It was a virtuoso performance.
Similarly, Rod Eddington conducted an interview some months after the September 11 terrorist attacks — when airline business confidence was plummeting and British Airways, like all other major airlines, was haemorrhaging cash. ‘Crisis’ was the word of