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‘Dangerously wrong’: Top lawyer hits out at unrealistic expectations on directors

Prominent lawyer and company director Philip Crutchfield, QC, has criticised the “unrealistic” expectations placed on modern company directors, saying it deters people from taking on board roles.

In a speech in Melbourne to the Turnaround Management Association conference on Wednesday, Mr Crutchfield said the standard that emerged from court cases such as the Centro judgment in 2011 puts a personal obligation on directors “to understand aspects of the company’s business in ways which are simply unrealistic”.

It has “undoubtedly deterred’ people from taking on non-executive director roles.

I don’t hire a guard dog, and then try and bark myself … It’s not my job

Mr Crutchfield is the chairman of ASX-listed Afterpay rival Zip Co. He has also acted for the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) in its bank bill swap rate rigging case against Westpac, NAB and ANZ, as well as acting as counsel for AMP at the bank royal commission.

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