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How Brisbane's new Olympics boss straddles the world of business

Business

From a childhood in Darwin to Brisbane’s State High and then on to a career that included the leadership of Dow Chemical, Andrew Liveris has lived a life of headlines in the US.

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Liveris is largely unknown in Australia outside business circles but the newly installed head of the Brisbane Olympics organising committee has taken some highly publicised blows, including a scandal over expenses which led to Dow paying $US1.75 million fine to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The SEC said Dow “failed to ensure that approximately $US3 million in perquisites provided to its chief executive officer were adequately identified and disclosed as other compensation in Dow’s 2013-2016 proxy statements’’. 

“These authorised but undisclosed perquisites included the CEO’s personal use of Dow aircraft and other expenses,’’ the SEC statement said.

Reuters reported those other expenses related to wine and Super Bowl tickets.

Despite that scandal, Liveris was known for his leadership during Dow’s $US16 billion takeover of Rohm and Haas.

Although he retired from Dow in 2018, Liveris still walks on the world stage, but also manages to straddle two very different business strategies. He is on the board of oil, energy and chemicals giant Saudi Aramco while also being on the board of electric vehicle company Lucid Motors.

He was a backer of the Morrison Government’s gas-led recovery and has also been vocal about Australia on-shoring manufacturing.

Liveris is also on the board of battery materials company Novonix which is establishing a presence in the US supply chain for electric vehicle batteries.

He has also been an advisor to the Obama and Trump governments in the US and was an enthusiastic supporter of President Biden’s pivot to electric vehicles.

Liveris is deputy chair Worley Parsons and directors of IBM Corporation as well as being on the board of trustees of the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology.

The first meeting of the Brisbane Organising Committee for the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games will happen later this month. One of its first tasks will be to appoint a chief executive.

Also appointed to the Olympic committee was another oil executive in Wesfarmers boss and former Olympian Rob Scott along with Brisbane Lions deputy chairwoman and UQ associate professor Sarah Kelly, Queensland Rugby Union chairman and Chemist Warehouse founder Brett Clark and Indigenous leader and KPMG director Shelley Reys.

The full organising committee board is:

President:
• Andrew N. Liveris

Vice Presidents:
• Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk
• Federal Sports Minister Richard Colbeck
• Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner
• Australian Olympic Committee President John Coates
• Paralympics Australian President Jock O’Callaghan

Board Directors:
• International Paralympic Committee board member Robyn Smith
• AOC chief executive Matt Carroll
• Deputy Premier Steven Miles
• Redland Mayor Karen Williams
• Federal MP Ted O’Brien
• Bronte Barratt
• Kurt Fearnley
• Patrick Johnson
• Natalie Cook
• Tracy Stockwell
• Rebecca Frizelle
• Sarah Kelly
• Shelley Reys
• Rob Scott
• Brett Clark

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