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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. 

Vineyard plans property listing

WINE company Evans & Tate hopes to emulate stock market giants Wesfarmers and Westfield Holdings with its plan to spin off property assets into a separately listed vehicle.

Stock blues

LESS than a third of WA’s listed companies produced a return considered adequate during 2000, with most of them failing to beat the All Ordinaries Index and prob-ably leaving investors wondering why they didn’t leave their money in the bank.

ERG swipes crown for innovation

ERG is considered WA’s standout innovation success by Perth’s business elite, capturing the business world’s attention by becoming a global leader in smart card and transit ticketing systems.

AMP rises as Telstra hangs up

AMP has put the horrors of the GIO takeover behind them, last week announcing an unexpected $1.5 billion turnaround in net profit.

Smart cards, ships set WA’s innovation pace

Meet the inaugural members of the Business News – Business Panel.

Local issues offer opportunities

FEW people will argue that innovation is the key to surviving in increasingly global markets.

AlintaGas gears up for bigger stake in energy market

A SURPRISE management change at AlintaGas is looming as the first tremor in WA’s electricity sector as it braces for seismic change under the new Labor Government’s plan to fully open the retail energy market.

Return to tradition

SOME people are still offering the romance of a little vineyard in Margaret River, albeit in a commercial package which would be a credit to any investment banker’s innovation.

A wave of gimmicks

GIMMICKS have long been an important sales aid, but for the tradition-steeped wine industry they are a relatively new concept – creeping in as producers jostle for consumer attention.

WestMet chief ponders his future

In his first interview since being ousted as the chief of Western Metals last November, Rod Webster tells Business News he is ready for another challenge. Mark Pownall reports

Pollies reel as the Don calls stumps

SPOOKED by an unhappy electorate, the past week has seen a major turnaround in the Federal Government's thinking.

Woolies takes the Liberty

THE worst kept secret in WA's liquor industry was finally broken this week when Woolworths confirmed it had acquired the Patrick Stephen-son's 45-store Liberty Liquors chain for a reputed $60 million.

Learning the art of saying farewell

THEY say a week is a long time in politics and recent events certainly support that theory.

Marketers find romance gone

WA’S highly regarded wine industry is consolidating into the hands of fewer, bigger players as commercial reality relegates romance to the marketing speel found on the back of a bottle.

Raising funds a taxing task

BIG changes to tax laws have failed to change peoples’ tax planning habits, with many leaving decisions on investment in tax effective schemes until at least the second half of the year.

Wine sales surface

MARGARET River wine producer Xanadu is poised to bring its $30 million stock market listing forward as the pace of corporate activity in WA’s wine industry accelerates.

Big spenders fail to win swingers

PETER Beattie’s Lab-or government in Queens-land has just confirmed any fears the Federal Coalition government might have leading up to federal elections later this year.

Innovative building to climb Jacob’s Ladder

A PERTH architect has found a novel way to tackle construction problems around the sensitive Kings Park escarpment – the building will “walk” its way up.

Financial planners clean up

IT’S taken about six months of high-level negotiations, in-cluding sizing up 16 potential suitors, but Deutsche Financial Planning has finally found a new home.

Misinformation not on

IT has come to Business News attention that some company executives are prepared to mislead the press if and when it suits them.

African scheme sunk

PERSISTENT efforts by scam artists operating from Nigeria may have finally paid dividends, with 400 WA investors likely to lose about $2.7 million to an investment apparently linked to an African oil company.

Pauline upsets the poll gallop

FOLLOWING weeks of political posturing, the WA people have voted in a new Labor Government, after an unprecedented swing against the Coalition and stronger than expected support for Pauline Hanson’s’ One Nation Party.

New writers to keep you ahead

Business News welcomes four new regular columnists to our ever-evolving pages.

Patient needs doctor’s care

WELL, who would have thought?You can be sure even the Labor Party’s most zealous supporters never expected the landslide result which occurred on Saturday.

Poll a warning to Federal Liberals

IT is very hard for Prime Minister John Howard to argue that last weekend’s State election was fought entirely on State issues.

Relocation now a breeze

FIRST impressions are everything, and there is a whole industry based on making sure at least one type of corporate visitor is made to feel at home in Perth, almost as soon as they land.

Crime confiscation rocks banks

AT least one Perth bank is conducting a review of its rights as a lender, in the wake of new laws allowing authorities to seize the assets of criminals came into force.

Pahth chases $1m

WA technology junior Pahth Telecommunications is seeking about $1 million in fresh equity in a bid to fund future growth for its reselling operations after being investigated and chastised by regulators for its disclosure procedures.

Sheppard joins miner

WINEMAKER Mark Sheppard has emerged from the disappointment of WA wine venture Vincorp to play a new role with miner come dot.com Wells Gold Corporation.

Back to school for the players

THE long hot summer holidays are over for children all over WA this week with the start of the new school year.For the State Government, 2001 marks the first year of the new four-year-old kindergarten program.

Prospectors hold a golden future

THERE is some irony in the fact that prospectors have won a form of land rights, or least the wider rights to roam the land and explore for minerals.

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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: www.kateleeming.com

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.

Bitcoin

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.

Most-read

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.