As Australian as you can get
The following are excerpts from an article published in the Financial Review's Christmas special, December 22 - 26, 2000, by Alan Kohler:
"There is an unpleasant realisation beginning to creep over corporate Australia that it is getting harder to think of good reasons for staying home. For executives and professionals, Australia is no longer the magnet it was. It used to be called a brain drain, but now whole corporations are preparing to leave."
"Australia's marginalisation is entering a new phase: being ignored by the world is galling enough but Australian companies with global ambitions are beginning, a little guiltily, to do the same. Veteran company director Stan Wallis warned in the past week that there would be an exodus of Australian companies unless Something Is Done - and there is every sign he is right, as National Australia Bank prepares to follow Rio Tinto in becoming a London-based dual-listed company and several others are said to be packing their bags."
"One of the core competencies in running a major corporation is the ability to take advantage of industry rationalisations and opportunities for business growth. In other words, deal-making."
"No matter how good or senior the local branch manager is, there is no substitute for the boss being on the ground and able to know what's happening and react quickly. Deals happen every day in the clubs, restaurants and boardrooms of Europe and the US - it is the way that companies grow and develop. It is very difficult for an Australian chief executive to muscle in on the action by telephone from the other side of the world, or from a strange hotel room."
"That consummate communicator, Rupert Murdoch, understood this first. Not only did he move to the US, he became a US citizen to improve his ability to do deals unhindered. More and more Australian chief executives, frustrated by late nights and early mornings on the phone, and still feeling left out, are coming to the same conclusion."
"Globalisation is without doubt the number one issue for Australian businesses as the new century begins, and the difficulty of running a global business from Australia is the number one problem associated with it. Indeed the prospect of becoming so marginal a player in the global economy that even our own companies can't stay here, raising the prospect of a spiral of irrelevance, has snuck up on Australia."
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