Noel Cornish, former chief executive of BlueScope Steel Limited’s Australian and New Zealand steel manufacturing businesses, has been elected as the Australian Industry Group’s (Ai Group) new National President.
He replaces Lucio Di Bartolomeo, who had been Ai Group National President since November 2010.
Mr Cornish has strong ties to industry, particularly manufacturing.
In addition to his BlueScope Steel roles, he was previously President NorthstarBHP LLC in Ohio USA and Group General Manager Whyalla Steelworks in South Australia.
His current board appointments include Snowy Hydro Limited, IMB Limited and Forestry Corporation NSW. He is also a member of the governing council of Wollongong University.
Mr Cornish has been Ai Group National Vice-President for 12 months and a national councillor for many years. He is also a former President of Ai Group’s NSW Branch.
Mr Cornish said he was taking on the position at a time when, despite some green shoots in the economy, many businesses remain under enormous competitive pressure.
“Manufacturers in particular are facing considerable headwinds due to the combined impacts of the strong dollar, intense competition from the emerging economies, a legacy low productivity growth, relatively high unit labour costs and considerably higher energy prices, Mr Cornish said.
“While there are very exciting opportunities, particularly in the growing markets of Asia, taking advantage of these will require a new phase of investment and innovation.”
Mr Cornish said the recent change of federal government presents the opportunity for a fresh start.
“We will continue to argue the need for strategies and policies that promote a balanced and diversified growth path that reduces the risks to national well-being associated with our heavier reliance on the export of a handful of commodities to a handful of countries,” he said.
“Among our urgent priorities are the repeal of the carbon tax and the implementation of its replacement policy and further workplace reform to boost productivity.”
Mr Di Bartolomeo will remain as an Ai Group nominee on the Board of AustralianSuper.
Mr Ross Pilling was elected as AiGroup deputy national President and Mr John Ingram was re-elected as National Treasurer.