Australian Financial Review gets it wrong

17 December 2002

In the Australian Financial Review’s business gossip column Rear Window (Noses out of joint at CBA central command, 17 December 2002) several erroneous comments were made about the Bank’s engagement of investment bank, Goldman Sachs.

The report implied that the friendship between Michael Ullmer, Group Executive, Institutional and Business Services, and Alastair Walton, the co-chair of Goldman Sachs, had some bearing on this appointment.

This is not the case. In fact, the appointment was negotiated by a separate team within the Bank’s Group Strategic Development unit in accordance with standard Bank practice.

The report also inaccurately asserted that Mr Ullmer and Mr Walton had worked together ‘on the Victorian energy privatisation bonanza of the late 1990s’. This is not true. The two had worked together on several major projects through the early 1990s but Mr Ullmer left Coopers & Lybrand in 1997 and took up an appointment at the Commonwealth Bank shortly after.

We would also bring to the journalist’s attention that Michael Ullmer has not been CFO for some 10 months.