Zealous, indefatigable and relentless; and with unlimited patience to challenge, engage and lead; we all lost our governance hero with the death yesterday of Erik Mather.

This obituary is written by Ian Robertson, secretary of the Development and Environmental Professionals’ Association. Before publication, errors were introduced by I&T News. Erik Mather’s age at the time of his death was incorrectly stated as 42 in paragraph three. The names of Erik Mather’s children were incorrectly stated in the last paragraph. I&T News has removed references to Erik Mather’s age and references to his wife and children. I&T News apologises to Erik Mather’s family and to Ian Robertson for these errors.

A good man,  taken far, far too early by the random irrationality of cancer.

An extreme athlete and cyclist, he went where others feared to tread. Many are the stories from other cyclists, muscles burning, hearts pumping on that killer incline, to be passed by Erik like they were standing still, with a grin over his shoulder as he made it look all too easy. No challenge was too great.

He started BT Governance Advisory Service (now Regnan) and was the right person in the right place at the right time. He was committed to the good governance of those Australian companies in which we all invest. He was thrilled by the challenge of educating reluctant CEOs and chairs about the developing interest of institutional investors in ensuring companies understood that institutional investors did care about how they ran the business, we had higher standards we wanted applied, and they needed to get with the plan.

No one has ever done so much to encourage so many to do good.

I first met him at CMSF in 1998 or ’99 – introduced to me as “Erik the Viking” – and he happily infected me with his enthusiasm for ethical standards and principles of responsible investment.

Later he ran Regnan, and I sat on the Board with him representing Local Government Super, along with the other Regnan owners, and wondered at his enthusiasm. Erik got the idea that companies needed to behave better – and that we could make them.

It’s a cruel world that takes the good ones early. Gregarious and voluble, he loved exercise, the idea of a better world, his wonderful wife and two kids, old Penfolds reds, sitting at a table eating, drinking and talking, the Styx River Valley, good coffee (and how to make it), and any opportunity to make this a better world.

And that interminable, loud joke we have all heard, with the funny accents and the 303.

 

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