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President’s Message

I am especially proud to be the first female President of TMA, and that our board has 40% women: both reflect the truly equal role that women play in the TMA, which sets us apart, and undoubtedly enhances our performance and our relevance.

We also strive to fully represent Australia with our various State committees and NextGen, as well as the full range of organisations and people that participate in turnaround in Australia. We recognise we have a way still to go in terms of Indigenous engagement and cultural diversity.

TMA Australia President

Dear TMA Australia members, sponsors and partners,

It is a honour to be your new President.

My warm thanks to my predecessor, Carl Gunther, and to our outgoing Chair, Cameron Belyea, whose seat Carl moves into. Carl did a sensational job of managing the TMA – an organisation fundamentally about member engagement and events – through the unique challenges of Covid which prevented all of this happening in person.  Not only did the TMA adapt: it thrived, and became more truly national by embracing a virtual world.

I also welcome our new Vice President – Chris Martin of KordaMentha, a long serving TMA board member – as well as incoming board members Kate White (GLAS), Zina Edwards (Hamilton Locke), Richard Hughes (Deloitte), Jason Preston (McGrathNicol) and Ben Gibson (Gordon Brothers).  To view all of our TMA Australia Directors – here

I am especially proud to be the first female President of TMA, and that our board has 40% women: both reflect the truly equal role that women play in the TMA, which sets us apart, and undoubtedly enhances our performance and our relevance.

We also strive to fully represent Australia with our various State committees and NextGen, as well as the full range of organisations and people that participate in turnaround in Australia. We recognise we have a way still to go in terms of Indigenous engagement and cultural diversity.

A bit about me

I have been working in the Restructuring & Insolvency space since I was a baby lawyer at Finlaysons in Adelaide, where I worked for John Marsden (now at Mayer Brown in HK) on matters including aspects of the winding up of Southern Equities Corporation Ltd (the former Bond Corp) on the instructions of its liquidator, Richard England (then of EY) and a young Cos Borrelli (now of Borrelli Walsh).

I have been at Baker McKenzie since I arrived in Sydney, and have worked on a range of matters including the landmark Alinta Energy restructure by interdependent creditors schemes of arrangement, and the restructure by creditors scheme of arrangement with US chapter 15 recognition of Emeco Holdings.

The standout matter of my career has been acting for Network Ten’s administrators – Mark Korda, Jarrod Villani and Jennifer Nettleton – in restructuring Ten by deed of company arrangement with a s444GA transfer of shares to CBS. Not a job was lost, and Ten is a standout example of the use of the voluntary administration regime: its speed and flexibility, the voice it gives to employees and the excellence of our Courts in making it work consistent with its objectives.


The post COVID landscape and where to from here

The TMA has emerged stronger from our Covid challenges: not only financially, and with the commitment of our members and sponsors, but with even greater engagement of our community through our topical and informative webinars, which have attracted a large and broad take-up. I do need to make special mention of our sponsors, who not only enabled us to survive Covid and emerge stronger, but are generous with the gift of their knowledge and experience: they are FTI Consulting, Pickles, Allegro Funds, Arnold Bloch Leibler, ScotPac, Ashurst, Baker & McKenzie, Clayton Utz, Corrs Chambers Westgarth, Gilbert + Tobin, Herbert Smith Freehills, Houlihan Lokey, KordaMentha, KPMG, McGrathNicol, MA Financial Group (formerly Moelis Australia), ScotPac, Grant Thornton, King & Wood Mallesons, Allens and BDO.

During 2020 and into 2021 we ran a series of excellent webinars, recordings of some of which can be found on our TMA Education platform – here. In 2021, we have resumed many of our usual in person events, allowing our members to network and share knowledge. Upcoming events can be found at here.

Since Covid commenced, the TMA has been in close communication with Commonwealth Treasury, and made detailed submissions in relation to the all substantive actual or proposed law reform impacting turnaround and restructuring, including in particular the introduction of Part 5.3B of the Corporations Act from 1 January 2021. We have also maintained our engagement with the AICD, including with a range of targeted presentations to AICD members.

TMA Education

The reboot of our on-line ‘TMA Education‘ offering was timely, given the challenges of Covid. In its early stages, our Education program will be an incident of membership. We will be adding to the content over coming months from experts within the TMA community, and look forward to working with members, sponsors and partners to make our education program relevant and compelling.

TMA Australia maintains contact with other TMA Chapters within the TMA global network – particularly the TMA Global office in the US who have supported us especially with the launch of our new education offerings. We also continue to look at ways we can engage constructively with local chapters and jurisdictions, such as New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Finally, TMA continues to be proud of its association with Foodbank, our preferred charity.  Details can be found – here

TMA National Conference 2021

The TMA National Conference – our flagship annual event – will be live again this year, and will be held at the new Crown Towers in Sydney on 6 and 7 October 2021.

Our conference co-chairs this year are Kate White (GLAS), Zina Edwards (Hamilton Locke) and Tim Klineberg (King & Wood Mallesons), stepping up to the challenge of matching the outstanding work done virtually last year by Ryan Eagle (KPMG), Nikki Smythe (Herbert Smith Freehills) and Jeffrey Largier (Allegro Funds).

Early indications are that the program is going to be sensational, and we will be announcing a fantastic dinner speaker soon.

Please check our website at www.turnaround.org.au regularly for conference updates, and make sure you book early, as Crown does have less capacity than we have had at our conferences in recent years.

Regards

Maria O’Brien
TMA Australia President
Partner, Baker & McKenzie

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