The team building consultancy the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) retained ahead of the expenses controversy which surrounded its chairman, James Shipton, was subsequently retained at a cost of over $30,000.
Shipton, who will leave ASIC when the Government finds a suitable successor, has confirmed to a Parliamentary Committee that the consultancy, Egon Zehnder (EZ), was retained to provide a “final” stage of its team-building offering for $33,000.
Shipton was being questioned by West Australian Labor backbencher, Patrick Gorman, about what the regulator was going to rebuild its management culture in the wake of the expenses controversy which affected both the chairman and his former deputy, Daniel Crennan QC.
“We saw a lot of reports in the open about the culture at ASIC and tensions amongst commissioners. Mr Shipton, have you done anything—any team-building work, any executive retreats or any coaching—to actually repair some of the tensions that were widely reported?” Gorman asked.
Shipton told Gorman during the committee hearing that the regulator had been continuing to work with Egon Zehnder.
“I believe we have disclosed to this committee previously that they have been doing work with us on commission effectiveness for some time, and that team has continued its work. We have transitioned that work to getting advice and guidance and facilitation, which I personally believe has been very effective, on how we as a leadership group at the commission can lead in transition. We can come back to you on the procurement and the costs,” Shipton said.
Those costs were finally provided to the committee on Friday, in the following terms:
“In continuance of previous leadership team formation and support work done for the ASIC Commission, Egon Zehnder (EZ) was approached to provide a proposal and a best and final offer for this project as it was a final stage of the ongoing program of work undertaken by the Commission, assisting them build the collective behaviours, skills and practices that support strategic and timely decision making as well as building their overall effectiveness as a team.
“The total cost of this final stage was $33,000 (including GST).”
Egon Zehnder describes itself as “the world’s leadership advisory firm, sharing one goal: transforming people, organisations and the world through leadership”.