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CFO Interview October – Ten Questions with Mark McNamara, CEO at SA Pathology

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Mark McNamara 01
Mark McNamara 01

In this issue of the “Group Scoop”, G100’s monthly Newsletter, we are continuing our series of CFO interviews titled “Ten Questions”. This month we talked with Mark McNamara, currently operating as CEO and Executive Director of SA Pathology. Mark has been a member of G100 since 2015, and in addition to being Deputy Chair, he is now overseeing G100 SA Chapter.

Mark spent fifteen years in various senior financial and CFO roles in a variety of industries in Australia. Some of his previous appointments were with Fletcher Building Ltd, BHP Ltd, Brambles Ltd, and TNT Ltd.

What attracted you to working in finance?
I was always interested in economics and business, and have a very logical and inquisitive mind.
I found that finance was one of the privileged few roles that typically work across the whole organisation, internally and externally. I am driven by an alignment of purpose across an organisation and working to make a demonstrable difference. Many finance leadership roles enable that.

What do you enjoy most about the job?
I am working across the whole organisation. Identifying, planning and executing the improvement. I am being respected for making a difference.

What should people know about CFO’s and don’t?
The best CFOs have powerful influencing skills. Many of them are the ‘brains’ behind successful CEO.’s

What should a CFO do?
Never accept status quo, seek to test, challenge and improve.
Don’t be afraid to intervene where you think it is required.
Look outside your industry for best practice examples to lead and replicate.

What was the most incredible deal you were ever part of?
Not so much a deal but planning and executing a significant financial turnaround in the Victorian TAFE network, taking it from large, recurrent, losses to sustainable profitability over three years.

What is your funniest finance story?
A woman was told she only had six months to live.
‘Oh my God’ said the woman, ‘what shall I do?’
‘Marry an accountant’ suggested the doctor.
‘Why’ asked the woman. ‘will that make me live longer?’
‘No’ replies the doctor, ‘but it will SEEM longer.’

If you could change anything about your role as a Senior Financial Executive, what would that be?
Not having every new CEO thinking he needs to ‘change’ the CFO.

How do you deal with stress?
Exercise, wine, family, Jack Daniels

What are your passions?
Cronulla Sharks (NRL)
Personal investments,
Experiencing different industries,

If you could have lunch with three people (alive or dead), who would they be?
Jesus Christ
John Howard
Brendan (my neighbour who loves a beer or two)

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