Busy load for new team driving power provider

THE two men now in charge of Western Power are among the busiest directors in Perth, but Neil Hamilton and Harvey Collins both recognise they need to cut back some of their work duties.

The 51-year-old Mr Hamilton acknowledged last week he would need to review some of his other positions after being appointed chairman of Western Power.

Similarly, new chief executive Harvey Collins plans to halt his consulting activities and step down from at least one of his board positions.

The Western Power role is Mr Hamilton’s second major recent appointment.

Late last year, mining company Sons of Gwalia announced that Mr Hamilton would succeed Peter Lalor as chairman.

Mr Hamilton is now chairman of seven businesses and a director of several others.

His chairman roles include the State Government’s land development arm, LandCorp, so he is no stranger to the fine art of working with government ministers.

Mr Hamilton’s day job is managing director of investment company Chieftain Securities, a position he has held for just more than a decade.

The Chieftain role has become a lot less demanding over the past 18 months, since the company decided to sell all of its investments and return the proceeds to shareholders.

That decision followed two years of disappointing returns from its diverse investment portfolio, which included Perth companies such as Marlows, iiNet, Coventry Group and Wescorp Holdings.

The 54-year-old Mr Collins sits alongside Mr Hamilton on the board of Chieftain Securities.

The two men were also together at Challenge Bank.

Mr Collins was chief financial officer from 1992 to 1996, while Mr Hamilton was chairman and/or director over the same period.

Mr Collins told WA Business News that his major positions were chairman of HBF and fast growing unlisted company Worldwide Online Printing.

He is reviewing other positions and intends to step down from the board of Chieftain Securities.

Interestingly, Mr Collins cited his increased workload when he resigned as chairman of listed Internet company iiNet in November 2002.

“Non-executive director roles are becoming increasingly demanding and these demands are magnified for chairmen,” Mr Collins said at the time.

Mr Hamilton’s professional background is in the legal industry, as a partner in a Perth law firm.

He left the legal game in 1984 to become chairman and chief executive of listed property manager, Pacific Mutual.

One of his more interesting roles, from 1987 to 1989, was that of chairman of Indian Pacific, the one-time publicly listed company that owns The West Coast Eagles.

Indian Pacific has been enmeshed in controversy over the years as a result of the WA Football Commission’s protracted and ultimately successful efforts to move to 100 per cent ownership, a change supported by Mr Hamilton but opposed by some other shareholders.

Mr Hamilton has retained a football connection in his capacity as chairman of the AFL Players Association Advisory Board. He has also had stints as chairman of Cockburn Cement and director of insurer MMI.


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