Mark Pownall

Mark Pownall has around three decades of media experience. Prior to becoming CEO of Business News he ran the content operations of the business and was integral to the implementation of all the company’s digital products –twice daily email newsletters, weekly podcasts, deals database and BNiQ search engine. Mark has a Commerce degree from UWA and a post-graduate qualification in English from Curtin University. 

Curtin strikes deal with hockey

Curtin University has become the latest sponsor of Hockey Australia, leveraging the fact that Australia’s globally dominant teams are based at the Bentley campus.

Mark my words podcast

This week we discuss the continuing weakness in commodity markets, and the local impacts from that, and the legal fallout from post-boom disputes, innovation and startups, Perron Group and residential home building.

Density debate a case of lost opportunities

A lack of vision from Perth planners of decades past has hamstrung efforts to get the most out of Perth’s rail system.

Mark my words: CEO salaries, retail property, iron ore and office leasing

This week we discuss shopping centre expansion, the new landscape for city office tenants, iron ore prices  and our major CEO salary review.

Leaders look to technology for growth

Innovation isn’t just a buzzword drummed up by the new regime in Canberra.

Mark my Words - weekly podcast

This week we discuss Hancock prospecting, Michael Chaney, recent developments in the Pilbara and Kwinana and look at Western Australian business dynasties including one property company that has marked 120 years.

Smart decisions will drive future growth

We have to focus on liveability and flexibility in order to broaden our economy.

Wellard float gets away

Live cattle exporter Wellard is set to list at $1.39 per share, launching a prospectus to raise close to $300 million to give the business a market capitalisation of almost $560 million.

Float shows private sector breadth

Whether or not the Wellard IPO is successful, it demonstrates there is more to WA than just resources.

Consulate continues German link

It was intriguing to learn of an unusual trading relationship, which goes a long way back.

Hancock Prospecting revenue slips

Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting has been affected by weak commodity prices and is bracing for more of the same, revealing its 2014-15 revenue slid by more than 22 per cent to $2.04 billion.

Unions and mergers should not go together

Talk of the creation of a mega-union made up by amalgamations is disturbing, to say the least.

Revenue rising for ASX stars

A cluster of Western Australia-listed companies has been highlighted in BNiQ research as exhibiting strong revenue growth, appearing to have bucked the economic slowdown with strong gains in operational income.

Disruption harbours entrepreneurial spirit

A special kind of person is needed to overcome current threats that business, and the broader community, face.

Gateway opens a little down south

Is the South West rubbing off on its biggest city?

City, export growth key to expansion

Conditions are ripe for the final piece of Bunbury’s harbour relocation.

Harvey Fresh aims to milk market

Italian dairy giant Parmalat is making good on its $128 million purchase of major Western Australian milk and juice producer Harvey Fresh.

Choice of venue is Yours or Mine

Argentinian beef ribs, an eclectic wine list and a Negroni that’s hard to beat are just part of Bunbury’s expanding repertoire.

South West pitches opportunities with lifestyle

SPECIAL REPORT: Economic diversity is just one of the region’s attractions.

Rotto sun sets on law limits

Is it Rottnest’s relaxed ambiance, or are people just more relaxed overall about ignoring rules they regard as draconian?

Cheaters cost everyone in business

Crooks are bad enough in business, but systemic governance lapses in major corporates flow across the system.

Opportunity in cabinet promotions

It’s intriguing to see Western Australians are winners in a less conservative government.

The inevitable can’t be delayed

The boom-and-bust cycle can’t be managed, but at least we can acknowledge it exists.

Steeling for business as Asia grows

The current slowdown is just a breather from longer-term Asian economic expansion.

Sign of the times? Where’s the Hawks banner?

Subiaco-based iiNet is a major sponsor of the Hawthorn Football Club with its HQ almost next door to where the Hawks meet West Coast Eagles tonight, yet we haven’t seen the same kind of enthusiasm for

Labor shows anti-business bias

Elections do at least allow the people to choose the kind of economy they want to live in.

Smaller globe puts world in reach

We are at the right place at the right time, we just haven’t noticed.

What about port plans?

In my previous column here I examined the history behind the fiasco around the Perth Freight Link, with nearly 20 years of poor policy decisions restricting Fremantle’s freedom as a port because of below-standard transport connections.

Industry peril in ignoring the plan

All growth comes with pain, but it’s especially acute when anticipated development is unnecessarily restricted.

Reviews offer efficiency dividend

When they are not a box-ticking exercise, performance reviews can deliver real benefit.

ResApp to speed up tests

Digital medicine developer ResApp Health has announced its second clinical trial program in Perth as it seeks to accelerate the testing of its smartphone-based diagnosis of respiratory disease.


Mark Pownall's Picks

Recent reading

For the Aussie history buffs. Like a lot of things if you think polarised society, royals behaving badly or domestic terrorism are new things ... think again. Steve Harris is an accomplished journalist and media entrepreneur, so this a little different although his home town of Melbourne features prominently.

The Contiki story. It is a racy read with plenty of business tips from a backpacker who took his business global ... and pretty much lost the lot. The business journey is outlined in extraordinary detail. A must read for anyone who has travelled on the cheap to Europe.

Great management text if you are looking for someone to make sense of all the models and theories that sometimes attain cult status. Co-author is Perth-based Paul Culmsee.

Simon Sebag Montefiore's Jerusalem, a great historic introduction to many of the Middle East's current issues. In fact, when you see what goes on there today, a lot of it is explained by this book

Another fascinating read was Peter Rees' book Bearing Witness about Australia's great WW1 war correspondent Charles Bean. I note there's a competing biography by Ross Coulthart which I haven't read yet.

Also worth reading was one I dragged out of my father's library. William L Shirer was a foreign correspondent based in Berlin in 1930s and, due to America's late entry into WW2, was there during the early part of that conflict. His book The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich is half way between and academic work and the modern histories we are used to which are more entertaining. His book is awesome in its documentation and given a human element by the number of eye witness accounts he provides.

I really enjoyed The Bully Pulpit by Doris Kearns Goodwin which was not only about the US presidency at the start of the 20th century, but the unique role investigative journalism played in reform. It reviews the incredible reporting backed by gutsy publishers who serialised stories on concerning issues with both economic and social implications. These journalists also had unprecedented access to the presidency, especially the progressive Franklin Roosevelt. As the circulation-boosting power of this style of journalism rose, however, some went too far, making up stories and spitefully attacking political leaders - leading to the expression muckrakers. The tabloids of today have historical precedent!

Sir Bob's visit

Some of the VIPs who really did have lunch with Sir Bob.

Recent reading

Just got through this great book by Bob de la Motte, well known in Perth finance circles. Its about his life, growing up in South Africa and competing in the 90km Comrades Marathon.

Another book worth mentioning is Njinga by a good friend of mine Kate Leeming - she's also just released a film on her trans-African cycling trip and is preparing to turn it into a TV documenary series. Her next project is Antarctica.

Find it here:

Executive remuneration

Worth checking out our CEO/executive/director remuneration list here. There are thousands of WA names on it ... 59 pages of salaries if you are up for it.


Meanwhile, I am awaiting a copy of this (not a Christmas hint - review copy coming I am told) which I expect will help decipher much about the mysterious world of bitcoin. This has been co-authored by a friend of mine and former colleague Michael Casey who has been writing regular columns on bitcoin for the past year or more. I have passed on a few tidbits to him about activity in Australia, but I have no idea if that was useful.

My all-time favourite business and political books are here on my Facebook page.


Visionary medico wins 40under40

This year’s First Amongst Equals winner is a passionate medical specialist but he’s also a visionary entrepreneur who has a lot in common with successful business leaders.

Vale Geoff Rasmussen

Western Australian corporate leader Geoff Rasmussen passed away on Friday night after a long battle with cancer.

Builton fails, administrator appointed

One of state’s biggest residential construction firms, Builton Group, has succumbed to the financial stresses engulfing the sector, appointing an external administrator earlier today after reports of the company’s financial troubles emerged last week.

Builton failure a costly housing hit

The collapse of yet another Western Australian residential builder appears set to further upset the delicate state of the sector, with financiers, insurers, 350 trade creditors and as many as 130 home owners facing losses.

most commented

Shark cull outcry overreaction

The current shark cull is a politically challenging issue, but one where Colin Barnett is right to dig in because he has time and momentum on his side.

Daylight savers may have to wait awhile

Daylight saving may be the victim of Western Australia's election - further bemusing those who watch us from a distance.

Time to stop slaughter in our backyard

While the public spotlight on the offshore ill treatment of animals bred for slaughter is commendable, why does the RSPCA shirk such action when it comes to our own backyards, literally?

Fitness freaks need more Jacob’s ladders

I note the fuss made around the recent closure of Jacob’s Ladder, a stairway to Kings Park which, due to its popularity as an exercise venue, has earned the ire of local residents.