Elevating HR Executives in the Boardroom

By Michelle Gardiner Partner – Board Practice

Published Date: 2017/11


Derwent Melbourne kicked off its first “HR Executives in the Boardroom” Forum on Friday. 50 of Australia's leading HR leaders were joined by:

Lorraine Murphy - Chief People Officer at National Australia Bank - who has more than 20 years of global Human Resources (HR) experience working in banking, aviation, consumer goods, chemical, pharmaceuticals and manufacturing industries. She has held various publicly listed CHRO roles across in the US, Europe, New Zealand and Australia. In the past she has also served as a board member of a non-profit organisation, The Womens’ Alliance.

Graeme Liebelt - Chairman of Amcor Limited, and a Director of The Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited, the Australian Foundation Investment Company (Rem Committee), DuluxGroup Limited and Carey Baptist Grammar School. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Graeme spent 22 years with the ICI Australia/Orica group including Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Orica Limited.

Lorraine and Graeme guided us through an insightful discussion around how the HR Executive can effectively engage with the Board and position their professional skills and experience to take a valued seat at the table.

Both speakers spoke of the need for HR to view things from the business and not the functional perspective – the need to look at the outcomes that are driving the Board and to then map back to these areas when addressing the Board. Effective Board interactions aren’t about demonstrating HR models and systems, it’s the ‘so what’ that matters.

Both speakers challenged the audience to expand the conversation with the Board, beyond executive remuneration, to include solutions to business problems. We didn’t find the answers to this on Friday, however, we did start the conversation. We will continue to focus on this theme at our next forum.