Publication Details

Fernando, M. & Sim, A. B. (2010). Strategic ambiguity and leaders' responsibility beyond maximising profits. 26th EGOS Colloquium 2010 (pp. 1-12). Lisbon: EGOS.


Australia has the world‟s highest number of documented cases of mesothemilia, a lung cancer caused by asbestos, and the building products manufacturer, James Hardie (Australia) has been accused for causing over half of these cases (Hills, 2005). The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) sued several executives of James Hardie for misleading stakeholders on asbestos victim compensation, and failing to act with care and diligence (ASIC, 2009). In a landmark decision in Australian corporate governance, the New South Wales Supreme Court held in April 2009 that James Hardie‟s chairwoman, nine directors and executives violated the law by approving and issuing misleading public statements about the financial 2 adequacy of a foundation set up to compensate Hardie‟s asbestosis victims (John, 2009). Other executives were also held liable for breaching their duty to act with care and diligence. The ASIC chairman encouraged corporate boards to carefully consider the court‟s decision, and “assess what improvements they can make to their decision making processes, the way they convey decisions to the market and in the way they conduct investor briefings….” (ASIC, 2009).

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EGOS Colloquium