Sally Pitkin FAICD 2020 Queensland Gold Medal Award Winner

Trying to pin down Sally Pitkin is certainly a challenge. It’s impossible to characterise her with just one label. Chair, Director, Adjunct Professor, Trustee, Fellow, law firm partner, Doctor, President, working mother – they are all titles that have applied to Pitkin since graduating with a law degree from Queensland University of Technology in 1984.

Now there is one more to add to her extensive résumé: 2020 Queensland Gold Medal Award Winner for 2020.

To most observers, Pitkin has transitioned seamlessly from Partner in the Brisbane office of Clayton Utz to one of Australia’s most in-demand directors of ASX-listed companies. Since the Queensland Government hand-picked her for a directorship with the Golden Casket Lottery Corporation in 1996, Pitkin has expanded her portfolio across government agencies, not-for-profit organisations and public companies, with her expertise in governance practices and processes growing in importance. A PhD in Governance completed in 2012 sharpened her understanding of how proper governance helps shape corporate culture.

Today, as well as her role as Chair of Super Retail Group, Pitkin is a director of Link Group and Star Entertainment Group and is a board member of the Queensland Performing Arts Centre and Chief Executive Women, director of Art Exhibitions Australia and sits as a Member of the Senate at the University of Queensland.

AICD Managing Director and CEO Angus Armour said “Sally Pitkin epitomises the value of sound principles in underpinning ethical decision making. While today every board in Australia is extolling the virtues of corporate governance, Sally has been a leader in this area for 25 years, sharing her expertise across a range of sectors. As well as her corporate leadership, her contribution to the Australian community through academia, public sector and the arts ensures Sally is a worthy recipient of this award.”

AICD Queensland Division President Anne Cross AM presented the award to Dr Pitkin at a COVID-friendly version of the Institute’s annual Gold Medal event in Brisbane.

Ms Cross said “Sally has consistently promoted the highest standards of corporate governance and directorship and had made an outstanding contribution to the business sector and broader community in Queensland and Australia. We are delighted to recognise Sally for her leadership in driving home the wider benefits to any organisation of a sound corporate governance platform.”

Dr Pitkin said: “Thank you to the AICD for recognising me with the Gold Medal Award, I feel very grateful to receive this very special award.

“The past 25 years of directorship have presented me with some extraordinary moments, both rewarding and difficult. The role of a director has evolved to be more complex and nuanced, requiring us to understand and apply contemporary principles from many different fields, ranging from the behavioural sciences to economics, law, finance and risk.

“While I came into directorships in a serendipitous way and have learnt an enormous amount through trial, error and study, I feel the corporate sector now has a greater understanding of the value of effective governance and how it applies to organisational culture, risk and people capability. This is a very positive change.”

Pitkin, who marks 25 years as a member of the AICD next year, has been Chair of the AICD’s Corporate Governance Committee since 2016.

The Queensland Division Gold Medal Award is presented each year to an outstanding director whose achievements extend beyond the realms of business. It is awarded to someone who exemplifies leadership values of excellence and integrity and encourages the highest ethical standards.

The Australian Institute of Company Directors is committed to excellence in governance. We make a positive impact on society and the economy through governance education, director development and advocacy. Our membership of more than 43,000 includes directors and senior leaders from business, government and the not-for-profit sector.