28/02/2006 - 21:00

Recruitment proves no easy business

28/02/2006 - 21:00

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I am always fascinated at how corporate history gets written and rewritten over time; how some people never escape their past while others seem to have a teflon coating when it comes to their mistakes.

Recruitment proves no easy business

I am always fascinated at how corporate history gets written and rewritten over time; how some people never escape their past while others seem to have a teflon coating when it comes to their mistakes.

On the latter, take this week’s news that national recruiting firm Chandler Macleod had bought Western Australian-based Management Search Australasia for between a reported $6 million and $10 million.

Nice work, you’d think, especially for MSA chairman Warren Reynolds and the other key shareholders in the business.

The press release on the deal tells us that the “MSA Group of companies comprises Business Recruiters Australia, Hospitality Recruiters Australia and Management Search Australasia (MSA).

“The business was founded more than 15 years ago and the group operates under the MSA banner.”

It sounds so seamless.

Of course, you don’t expect the PR machine to mention a slight blip in the radar, such as Recruiters Australia Ltd, one of the ASX’s more short-lived listings.

Mr Reynolds sold his business into Recruiters Australia ahead of a late 1999 public float of the national operation and stepped up as managing director until late 2000. By May 2001 the business had collapsed.

Mr Reynolds told me this week that Recruiters Australia had been heavily focused on IT recruitment, a field that had evaporated due to the dual impact of the end of the millennium bug-driven work and the tech wreck, which occurred in early 2000.

That was a surprise development. Fair enough, there’s no end of disaster stories from that time.

Of course, tech wreck or not, what is now MSA simply picked up where Recruiters Australia left off, with Mr Reynolds leading a buyout of the WA business from the administrators in May 2001, within a few months of his resignation as Recruiters Australia chief in late 2000.

That business, which had a variety of trading names, some of which have changed or evolved over time, has now brought a tidy sum for its owners.

This information is pretty hard to find on the public record.

Less hard to find is the fact that, in 2001, Mr Reynolds was also working in local government executive search under the banner of Management Recruiters Australia, a business name which was previously owned by the listed company.

One of his most high-profile jobs was that of Denis Smith, the controversial CEO appointment to the City of Joondalup. Mr Smith had allegedly beefed up his CV.

Mr Reynolds said the checking of Mr Smith’s academic background was not part of his role – a fact he said was clearly stated in the contract.

Maybe that’s understandable given the reported $22,000 fee for the job, considered low by industry standards.

I write this not out of spite or with malicious intent, but simply to put on the record some facts that seem to have been overlooked in more recent times.

40under40 delivers another top field

THIS week heralds the fifth WA Business News 40under40 awards, an achievement that and well and truly cements the program as a success story for recognising Western Australian business talent.

The array of winners is staggering and, without taking anything away from the original winners in 2002 who had the guts to try something new, it appears to me that the fields are getting stronger every year.

This year offers a long list of CEOs and managing directors from a broad range of industries. While I was not a judge this year, I have been privy to the stories behind these winners and recognise that we have another fantastic bunch of achievers.

Topping the list is Michael Malone, who is, without doubt, one of the state’s highest profile young business leaders – even if he is a quiet achiever.

Mr Malone has built a national player in a tough technology sector by backing his view on where the world will take this form of communication, namely the Internet.

His personal fortune has taken a battering in recent months as the share market has treated iiNet’s strategy and regulatory issues unkindly.

That is fair enough and Mr Malone knows he has to weather this storm as he has others, from his garage start-up to the tech wreck in 2000.

In some ways he personifies the 40under40, which makes him an ideal ambassador as 1st Amongst Equals.

However, he also provides yet another business type to show that 40under40 has a bit for everyone.

In 2002 there was merchant banker Mark Barnaba and tourism operator Manny Papadoulis. Mr Barnaba has gone on to launch a new corporate advisory business, while Mr Papadoulis has emerged as a consultant after the failure of his family business.

The 1st Amongst Equals in 2003, Nathan Buzza, is a technology exporter, operating in a narrow field.

In 2004 it was Darren Haunold, who did not allowed a disability that restricted him to a wheelchair to stop him running a successful wine business, Wills Domain.

Last year, Professor Lyle Palmer topped our list, bringing to 40under40 a focus on medical research.

This is a broad cross-section but, unlike the full 200 winners over the past five years, it doesn’t fully represent all WA industry. In some ways it is weighted towards people whose industries represent the future of the state.

The challenge remains for other Western Australians in industries to put their hand up and fill the gaps that can easily be identified.

Thirsty work may need an import

IS Perth facing a water crisis?

Firstly, there are numerous cities around the globe that face much bigger issues than we do. They solve them by committing their resources to this problem.

We are rich because we provide resources and food to the rest of the world.

Just like water, these are necessities of life.

The Koreans have faced up to their lack of energy while the Japanese have overcome their lack of productive land. They import these things.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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