People keep criticising the management of Solid Energy as if we did something wrong. But I’m very proud of my time as CEO of the company, and I have no regrets about anything. When most of your product sits under the surface the only realistic option you have is to run the business into the ground.
On that measurement alone I think we did pretty well.
I’m getting sick of hearing all the opinions of the armchair analysts. What do they know? When the coal price was at a record high, who could have possibly foreseen that it would one day drop? Who could have predicted that global demand for dirty fuel would slowly diminish?
I’m getting it in the neck for not fronting up and answering questions to the select committee. But that’s a bit unfair. They just want a scapegoat, and why should it be me? I may have been the CEO, but I always delegated my responsibilities downwards. Or I simply followed the instructions of the board and chairman. I was just following orders. No, I’m not responsible for anything. Nothing to see here. Move on.
I was listening to radio talkback just now and a caller was going on about the huge salary I was still earning while on gardening leave. He asked how someone like me could continue to hold his head up high when hundreds of miners had lost their livelihoods.
It’s a good question, and it has been hard to keep my chin up as I mope around home. But I have hit upon a solution that always keeps me looking on the upside. I have had hundreds of fifty dollar notes glued to the ceiling of my house.
It’s the workers I feel for. I’ll be okay, and life will go on for me, but for some of those hardworking directors of Solid Energy the fees they stand to lose if the business goes belly-up could be the difference between a month drinking wine in the south of France and having to settle for a three week holiday in Surfers.