CPA Australia, under attack over the conduct of its CEO, Alex Malley, announced an independent review of the organisation to be headed by Sir Angus Houston, a former head of the Australian Defence Force.
The professional body has been hit by a series of resignations of board directors and objections by some CPA members about Malley’s $1.8 million pay packet and losses of the organisation’s consulting business.
Ian McPhee, a former Commonwealth Auditor-General, will assist Sir Angus as a panellist. The CPA is in talks with a third person to join the panel.
“The review will be fiercely independent,” says Jim Dickson, the newly appointed chairman of CPA Australia, in a statement.
“It will have all the resources it needs to do its work and the review team will operate independent of the executive, reporting directly to me.
“Sir Angus and his panel will work directly with me as chair to finalise the terms of reference.”
In the meantime, Malley will be retaining his role as chief executive.
“Alex is executing the strategies set and monitored by the board over his tenure. He is delivering at the highest possible level and he is doing it under considerable duress,” says Dickson.
“In spite of the last two-plus years of often very personal attacks from the media, Alex has exhibited grace and calm.
“Alex has consistently exceeded the expectations of the board over time and the KPIs the board has set for him.”
Dickson accused the media for putting “unreasonable” pressure on directors and their and families.
“Recently, my wife received an unannounced knock on the door at our home from a journalist,” says Dickson.
“They had a photographer positioned down the drive. It was a public holiday. I was not at home.
“This systematic campaign of targeting our directors has taken a toll.
“Watching these media tactics play out, I called our directors together for a board meeting this week.”
Dickson formally announced that directors Deborah Ong, Jennifer Lang and Martin Hourigan have stepped down from the board.
That means seven of the 12 member board has resigned in recent weeks.
Tim Youngberry, a former ACT divisional president, has been appointed to the board to meet the minimum requirements to make decisions.
“We are determined that the protracted campaign by the media and some small elements of our membership will not detract from our mission to represent and support members. To that end, we will have these issues examined independently,” says Dickson.