Multiple chair roles no hindrance for Iress' Sharp

19 February 2021

Iress has affirmed its confidence in new chair Roger Sharp, despite concerns of ‘overboarding’.

Sharp took over from outgoing chairman Tony D’Aliosio who had been on the board since 2012 and as chair since 2014.

However, there were concerns about ‘overboarding’ as Sharp already held several existing board roles. This was defined as holding four or more board positions.

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As well as the new Iress role, he was also chair of the Lotteries Commission of New Zealand, non-executive chair of travel firm Webjet, non-executive chair of Geo and deputy chair of Tourism of New Zealand. He was also chair of boutique financial technology firm North Ridge Partners which he founded in 2003.

While there were no official Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) guidelines on how many board positions a director could hold, the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) suggested a maximum of three to four board roles or two chairmanships was the market expectation.

A spokesperson for Iress said: “For all director appointments the board carefully considers the capacity of all directors to manage their commitments. In line with this the board assessed Roger's current and future capacity and are comfortable with this.”

As well as his role at Iress, Sharp’s predecessor D’Aliosio was also chairman of Perpetual and board member of Aikenhead Centre for Medical Discovery.

The Iress board was composed of nine positions including chief executive Andrew Walsh and eight non-executive directors.

However, Sharp would not be the only Iress director to hold multiple roles; Julie Fahey held seven roles while Michael Dwyer held five.

As well as Iress, Fahey sat on the boards of Seek, Datacom Group, CenITex, Vocus Group, The Australian Red Cross Blood Service, Yooralla and La Trobe University. Meanwhile, Dwyer sat on the boards of Bennelong Funds Management, TCorp, the Global Advisory Council of Tobacco Free Portfolios and Sydney Financial Forum.

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