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Women in Leadership

No Limitations With Gregory Robinson: Expect Success featuring Kathryn Fagg

June 27, 2019

In Episode 20, “Expect Success”, Blenheim Partners‘ Gregory Robinson is delighted to speak to Kathryn Fagg, Chair of Boral Ltd and Director of Incitec Pivot Ltd, Djerriwarrh Investments Ltd and CSIRO.

Kathryn is one of those rare executives who has broken with tradition and worked across a range of industries and been highly successful. She commenced her career as a petroleum engineer for Esso Australia in what was a girl’s adventure in a man’s world before pursuing her interest as a problem solving junkie with McKinsey & Co. Wanting to further test herself, she then joined ANZ Banking Group in the roles of General Manager, Retail Banking, New Zealand leading over 5000 people, and later Managing Director, Banking Products. Kathryn then chose to return to her industrial roots and joined BHP Steel which became BlueScope Steel, becoming President of the Asia division, including Chair of Tata BlueScope Steel in India. She eventually returned to Australia and helped Linfox turnaround a division before making an earlier than expected career transition to the Boardroom. Kathryn has since built an impressive NED career serving on the board of the Reserve Bank of Australia, Chairman of Breast Cancer Network Australia and most recently was President of Chief Executive Women.

Greg and Kathryn discuss a myriad of topics including business optimism in Australia, the composition of Boards, the need for more effective R&D, fear of innovation and what is real diversity. Kathryn expresses concern of the lack of females in executive roles, what needs to change and what numbers she would expect in the next ten years. She puts forward her concerns over the gap between the high numbers of educated females to the low number of females pursuing senior careers and poignantly questions the waste to the nation and the time for decisive leadership.
Lastly and importantly, Kathryn shares with us her thoughts on taking risk and not being one of those disappointed with how things turned out. With her infectious confidence, Kathryn is “absolutely driven and expects to be successful” whilst at the same time taking the approach of “giving it a shot and if it doesn’t work out you’ll get another job”, a lesson for us all.