29 September 2010 Lunch with Rob Murray, CEO Lion Nathan National Foods

There are millions of blogs on leadership and the role of a CEO but rarely do you hear a CEO in person expounding on his role.  Normally they are spruiking the company or speaking on the latest organisation issue such as gender diversity.  On 29 September 2010 the Cambridge Society of NSW hosted a lunch for Rob Murray at the Union, University and Schools Club.  

Rob Murray is the Chief Executive Lion Nathan National Foods(LNNF) which employs close to 8,000 people across Australia and New Zealand and delivers revenues in excess of AU$5.6 billion.  LNNF is Australia’s largest dairy and fruit juice company, and a major brewer in Australia and New Zealand.  Brands include icons such as Berri, Dairy Farmers, XXXX, Tooheys, Hahn, Speights, Steinlager, King Island, Petaluma, etc.  Rob Murray is probably the most successful Cambridge alumnus (Trinity) working in Sydney today and kindly agreed to speak. 

The lunch operated under Chatham House Rules and because Rob had generously supplied copious amounts of two excellent wines from the Lion Nathan cellars, a Petaluma Riesling and a Stonier Pinot Noir, the conversation flowed freely.  In particular the audience found his answer to question What do CEOs actually do? particularly interesting.  I was able to post a blog about his answer because it is in the public domain.

In passing the funniest moment of the lunch was when Rob began by saying that he could only work in an industry where people paid cash for useful products and not parasitic industries like law and investment banking.  This of course eliminated 17 of the 18 guests present, and then the remaining guest asked somewhat plaintively, “I suppose that includes psychologists?”

Rob replied in his Geordie accent and a beaming smile, “Of course.”


30 August 2010 Visit of Trinity College Choir

As part of their nation wide visit to Australia the Trinity College Choir sang in the Angel Place Concert Hall on Monday, 30 August 2010 which included a group of 30 Camsoc NSW supporters sitting in the premium seats.  The supporters met in a private and intimate bar and were treated to an interesting pre-concert talk.  After an excellent concert which was enthusiastically applauded by the capacity audience, key members of the touring party were treated to a dinner hosted in the one restaurant open in the Sydney CBD on a Monday night, The Athenian.


Thursday 19th August 2010: CAMSOC Winterfeast 2010: The Great Crimes of Cambridge

Cambridge has been the scene of famous murders that gripped not just the town but the whole nation, ranging from to the unsolved murder of Cambridge shopkeeper Alice Lawton to the murder of a 15-year-old drummer boy whose ghost haunted the killer and drove him to confess.  Cambridge has also been the setting for various detective novels such as the Matthew Bartholomew mediaeval mysteries by Susanna Gregory.  The world’s greatest detective, Sherlock Holmes, before moving to 221B Baker Street, attended Sidney Sussex College in the early 1870s. 

Over 120 attended a winterfeast held at the Royal Sydney Golf Club to hear Professor Barry Maitland talkl about the The Great Crimes of Cambridge.  Professor Maitland studied architecture at Trinity College and In 1984 he moved to Australia to head the architecture school at the University of Newcastle in New South Wales, and held that position until 2000.

However it is as a writer of detective fiction that Professor Maitland has gained world-wide fame.  In particular he is the author of the acclaimed Brock and Kolla series of crime mystery novels.  The Brock and Kolla novels were among the first in contemporary crime fiction to feature a male-female police team as the central characters, playing complementary roles in the resolution of their cases.  His novels are celebrated for their strong sense of place and atmosphere due in part to his architectural background. 

Professor Maitland began by describing the two great crimes when he was at Cambridge as the food and the plumbing.  He then went on to describe some of the great crime writers who have based their novels in Cambridge including Alison Bruce and Susanna Gregory, the pseudonym of Elizabeth Cruwys, a Cambridge academic who was previously a coroner's officer. Susanna is noted for her series of mediaeval mysteries featuring Matthew Bartholomew, a teacher of medicine and investigator of murders in 14th-century Cambridge

However according the Professor Maitland the greatest crime at linked  Ludwig Wittgenstein, Aldolf Hitler, Kim Philby and Guy Burgess.

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