Former James Hardie executives fined and banned

Ten former executives and directors of James Hardie have been fined and banned from company directorship for at least five years by the NSW Supreme Court.The penalties follow the April ruling by Justice Ian Gzell that the ten breached their duties to the company in 2001 over a misleading media release about asbestos compensation.The release said a new compensation trust would be ‘‘fully funded’’ and offered ‘‘certainty’’ to claimants suffering from asbestos diseases.This morning Justice Gzell imposed the heaviest penalty on the former chief executive and managing director Peter Macdonald, 56, fining him $350,000 and disqualifying him from managing companies for 15 years.The former general counsel Peter Shafron, 48, and the former chief financial officer Phillip Morley, 61, were fined $75,000 and $35,000 respectively and banned for seven and five years.Seven former non-executive directors, Michael Brown, 63, Michael Gillfillan, 61, Meredith Hellicar, 55, Martin Koffel, 70, Dan O’Brien, 53, Greg Terry, 64, and Peter Willcox, 64, were fined $30,000 each and banned from boardrooms for five years.The company itself was fined $80,000.Some defendants have already cut short their corporate careers, with Ms Hellicar and Mr Willcox resigning high-profile positions after the April judgement.Ms Hellicar resigned from the boards of AMP and Amalgamated Holdings, among others, while Mr Willcox, who had been tipped as the next chairman of Telstra, announced he would retire from its board at the annual meeting in November.Lawyers for some of the defendants foreshadowed appeals against the April decision in their July submissions on penalty. They argued that the judge should not take into account that their clients had expressed no contrition because such admissions could not be expected if they were preparing appeals.The bans are likely to have less impact on Mr Gillfillan and Mr Koffel, who have long business careers in the United States, where the ban will not apply.Mr Macdonald and Mr Shafron both moved to California when James Hardie set up its operational headquarters there in the late 1990s, but both resigned from the company in 2004 after the trust was found to be grossly underfunded. They have not returned to corporate roles in Australia since. smh苏州美甲培训学校.au

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