Tony Friday, CEO of Pilbara Regional Council, comes from a background of education, technology, property development, and start-up investment. He also has passion for community and contributing to the betterment of communities through not-for-profit and government roles.
Although many consider the public sector as a sideways or backward step for corporate CEOs, Tony believes the public sector offers exposure to numerous challenges unheard of in the corporate environment, especially that of meeting the expectations of the community. "As a government CEO, I am accountable to a board of elected members, each representing the interests of a ward a subsection of a local government region. Councillors may or may not have any formal training in governance, strategy, or risk. Indeed, they may not even have any background in business at all."
"Armed with only a passion for their constituency, many are responsible for setting the strategic direction for organisations with a turnover of hundreds of millions of dollars. This offers local government CEOs some interesting challenges in establishing an appropriate distance for good governance, while remaining ever vigilant for issues around compliance and risk that would otherwise be the purview of the board in a corporate setting."
"At a more functional level, there are also some interesting lessons to be learned around social licence to operate, and working within a non-traditional corporate KPI structure. Over and above the personal development element, there is little doubt that the business of government is now completely corporatised. The traditional view of a senior public servant complete with cardigan and elbow patches has long ago been replaced by deep levels of domain expertise managed by leadership teams skilled in executing against a detailed strategic plan."