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NSW Supreme Court bans former James Hardie directors

The New South Wales Supreme Court has imposed bans and penalties on former directors and officers of James Hardie following the ruling in April 2009 by Justice Ian Gzell that the ten had breached their duties to the company in 2001 over a misleading media release about asbestos compensation.

Some of the former executives are expected to appeal. The Age commented that the bans are likely to have less impact on Gillfillan and Koffel, who have long business careers in the United States, where the ban will not apply.

The disqualification periods imposed came close to the maximums sought by the ASIC, although the financial penalties were lower.

Bans and Penalties Imposed by NSW Supreme Court
Director Former Role Disqualification Period Penalty
Peter Macdonald Managing Director 15 years A$350,000
Peter Shafron General Counsel 7 years A$75,000
Phillip Morley Chief Financial Officer 5 years A$35,000
Michael Brown, Michael Gillfillan, Meredith Hellicar, Martin Koffel, Dan O’Brien, Greg Terry and Peter Willcox Non-executive directors 5 years A$30,000

Further Reading

Valuable lesson for non-executive directors – The Age, 21 August 2009

What do you think?