No kiss and tell from CEO matchmaker
Andrew Forrest ... sticking close to the edge. Illustration: Rocco Fazzari
There is apparently a healthy supply of lonely chief executives seeking a well-connected soulmate. A dating service in Sydney has spruiked its founder as being responsible ''for marrying off CEOs of blue chip companies with renowned celebrities and Australia's social elite''.
Elite Introductions International provided no names of who it has married off. But it seems pretty desperate itself to drum up business.
In a media release the agency compared its founder to Patti Stanger, the host of the US reality TV show Millionaire Matchmaker.
''Unlike Patti, I would never do cattle calls with potential dates for my clients, and confrontational mixers are a no-go zone,'' Trudy Gilbert said.
Apparently Gilbert has a ''little black book that many would die for''. Some of Gilbert's suggestions for pheromone-filled dating experiences include sailing, rock climbing and even a dangerous drive.
''Learn how to slide your car sideways and how to get out of a spin. From an advanced driver course to a one hour thrill rally drive, this is one extreme date that will get the heart pumping,'' her website says.
The Fortescue Metals boss Andrew Forrest has finally revealed the politician who has most impressed him during the debate over the federal government's proposed mining tax: the BHP Billiton chief executive, Marius Kloppers.
''Marius is a very clever politician,'' Forrest told an Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce lunch yesterday about the BHP chief's recent shifting of the debate from the newly negotiated mining tax to a carbon tax.
''It was a clever move … he wants the [mineral resource rent tax] to stay untouched, because he is one of three people only in the country who knows what it looks like outside of Treasury,'' Forrest said.
However, Forrest did not appear too bitter about the three big miners reaching a deal with the Labor government without the rest of the industry being consulted.
''I think they did the very right thing by Xstrata, BHP and Rio,'' he said. ''That's really what those guys are paid to do,'' he added, arguing the big miners would get up to three decades of ''tax protection'' from the deal.
But Forrest was surprisingly shy when asked how long he thought the alliance between Julia Gillard and the independents would last.
''Can we discuss religion and sex after this?'' he said.
''I'd love to get drawn on all of that, just not here.''
Still, he was happy to call the national broadband network ''old technology'', while also saying we should do more work on carbon soil sequestration before rushing into an emissions trading scheme.
Forrest also provided a personal dictum that could disqualify him from a life in politics. ''We have two reasons for being here on Earth: one is to have fun and the other is to be useful.''
Meanwhile, he did share at least one trait in common with Liberal leader, Tony Abbott. ''If you're not on the edge, you're taking up too much room.''
Chris Brown, the managing director of the Tourism and Transport Forum, has called it quits after nearly 20 years heading the lobby firm founded by his father, the Hawke government tourism minister John Brown.
Apart from signalling Brown's plans to step down in February, TTF issued a statement that appeared to be a signal to anyone needing to fill any vacant board seats.
"I would like to achieve a better work-life balance that will enable me to spend more time with my family and delve deeper into some specific policy areas that fascinate me, such as the development of Parramatta as a second CBD, Australia's engagement with Asia, urban infrastructure and ways to reduce disadvantage for indigenous youth and people with a disability,'' Brown, 44, said.
As a result of his lobbying skills, Advocacy Services Australia Limited, the umbrella company of both TTF and Infrastructure Partnerships, has boosted its membership and dinner party revenues to more than $7 million a year. TTF also provided a list of its ''greatest advocacy achievements'' under Brown.
They included its push for the privatisation of airports under the Howard government and ''defending the tourism industry from external threats, such as international terrorism and the rise of One Nation''.
TTF did not mention its frosty relationship with the recently re-elected federal Labor Transport Minister, Martin Ferguson.
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