Lighter Note: New light on management system

IT’S one of those great conundrums of Western Australian business: who introduced the Argenti strategic management system to Wesfarmers? Folklore has it that it was Michael Chaney (pictured), the company’s successful CEO who credited the process for a great deal of Wesfarmers’ performance. Yet, rumour abounds that his predecessor and now chairman Trevor Eastwood kickstarted Argenti at the conglomerate. Well, now The Note can shed some light on the subject. Former Wesfarmers treasury executive and strategic planner, Bill Robertson has given his version of events – and he should know, because until recently he was also the Argenti agent in WA (see story page 3). According to Mr Robertson, who remains an Argenti facilitator, Mr Chaney – then CFO – actually answered a newspaper ad in the early 1980s and purchased a copy of the Argenti system which then came in the form of several big manuals. However, according to our source, it was Mr Eastwood, then boss of the newly listed company, who spied them gathering dust, took them away and, having devoured them, decided they were just the ticket for a creaky old cooperative that needed to deal with a fast evolving corporate world. “It was a cooperative effort,” said the ever-diplomatic Mr Robertson.

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