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. 

Swan Taxis needs to turn a corner

New leadership at the helm of Swan Taxis offers a chance to turn away from past mistakes.

New chief at Celebrate WA

Just two weeks after its big annual event, Celebrate WA is ushering in a new CEO in a change that reflects a strategic reset at two important culture-focused Perth organisations.

Money can complicate growing up

Entrepreneur became a dirty word in WA. Thankfully that was just a phase.

Voices for change aren’t deep enough

Perth has evolved, but the gender diversity of its CEOs hasn’t.

Tough times challenge generosity

Charities may find 2015 is the big test for their fundraising abilities.

Ardrey jailed for fraud

A businessman who defrauded a bio-pharmaceutical company of $394,000 has today been handed an immediate jail term of four years.

Education and child care a costly mix

Pre-school education is powerful, but child care has a different purpose.

Lomborg case poorly managed

Politics and academia are a volatile mix, as the handling of the Bjorn Lomborg initiative at UWA has shown.

Commentary hardball played online

Polite disagreement is hard to find in the digital space.

Fit for purpose, Running Unlimited takes next step

PERTH-LINKED fitness products group Running Unlimited has gone to the public for the first time to fund the next phase of its development, using the UK crowdfunding service Seedrs to raise at least £2

Income envy misses the taxing question

Those who earn more also pay proportionally more tax.

Singapore consultancy backs Hockey Australia

Singapore-based management consultancy firm The Project Group has become a major sponsor of Hockey Australia with a deal that could be worth more than $500,000 if the Kookaburras and Hockeyroos win go

Organisational revamp spurs management change at City of Perth

The City of Perth is embarking on significant organisational overhaul, which will result in an expansion of its directorships, a flatter structure, and more emphasis on economic development.

Taxi drivers risk missing the boat

After moving at crawl for decades, the taxi industry is heading backwards.

iiNet closes above $10 on bid war

Shares in internet market target iiNet surged again today to a new intra-day high before closing at around $10 each in line with yesterday's formal bid from M2 Group.

Victim act a pointless play

Leadership is what’s needed in a downturn, not a panicked blame game.

Talk is cheap; tax reform mistakes are not

We need to be careful we understand the detail when debating tax changes.

State of Mind highlights the resources boom legacy

The University of Western Australia has launched a new attempt to capitalise of the fruits of the fast-fading resources boom by highlighting the value of human capital that has created in fields such as engineering.

Alexium marches on

As investors and the authorities weigh the pros and cons of the many reverse takeovers being proposed in Western Australia, there is at least one spectacular example of what can be achieved via the backdoor listing strategy.

Cruising tales put Frame in picture with liners

Is it a hobby, a passion or a side business? A Perth-based world expert on cruising says he’s happy to keep his specialty for the weekends.

Emerging leaders focus on funds

The Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation has officially launched its Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy program, with some of the state’s highest-profile business leaders joining 14 young professionals in a team-based fundraising challenge.

State funding battle lacks the facts

Those who forget history often prefer to fill the void with myths.

New century must be won over without a fight: Geldof

The world is on the cusp of generational change in terms of leadership and technology, but must avoid the dangers of past such transitions, which resulted in dramatic wars and huge misery, Sir Bob Gel

WA stalls on the start line, again

Perhaps Western Australia’s isolation doesn’t always work in its favour.

Financial benefits might drive light rail

Rethinking the funding of trams might actually make the whole idea work.

Malone lashes iiNet bid, board

Founder and minority shareholder of iiNet, Michael Malone, has emerged as another critic of the $1.4 billion agreed takeover of his former company, as chairman Michael Smith sought to defend the deal with rival TPG Telecom.

Deal flow surges in ICT sector

Perth's status as a significant outpost in the national information and communications technology sector could be threatened by the likely loss of key major local headquarters following recent mergers and acquisitions activity.

Satellite deal signals local win

It may seem like an entirely offshore deal, but Japanese tech giant Panasonic’s purchase of US satellite communications provider ITC Global has a strong Western Australian flavour.

Poynton joins Orbital in board revamp

Technology developer and investor Orbital Corporation has reshaped its board as it implements a new growth strategy, adding investment banker John Poynton as a director and promoting experienced minerals executive John Welborn to chairman.

Malley trumps the me-too approach

Alex Malley may not yet be a household name, but he is working as hard as he can to make it one.

Porter targets $2.1bn savings

Rising political player Christian Porter wants to hear from business on ways to reduce compliance costs.


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.