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Brad Banducci’s resignation: The ultimate self-checkout
Thu, 22nd Feb 2024

Woolworths boss Brad Banducci is the latest CEO to fall ingloriously on their sword after a botched media appearance in front of the cameras.

His resignation today follows a string of recent media speed bumps, including the Australia Day fiasco. Walking away from the cameras mid-interview, as he did on Monday night, is enough to make any corporate communications professional wince. By the time his PR team convinced him to return to finish the interview (the right thing to do), the damage was already done.

Banducci's walkout also gave the ABC the ideal teaser for the show, which ended up attracting more viewers than Seven's Australian Idol and Ten's Australian Survivor. What could have been a dry episode about pricing ended up achieving an average national audience of 916,000 and a reach of 1.377 million — a remarkable feat for an ABC current affairs program.

It is an example, writ very large, of the importance of media training and being prepared for all possible scenarios ahead of an interview. When every word can be scrutinised and amplified across multiple platforms, the importance of being prepared properly cannot be overstated.

Given his remit of leading a major ASX-listed company of almost 200,000 employees, Mr Banducci would be no stranger to public speaking or talking to the media. However, even the most experienced CEOs must be adept at delivering their company's narrative with clarity, consistency, and authenticity, no matter the headwinds or line of questioning.  

Kelly Bayer Rosmarin, from Optus, suffered the same fate last year when the network went sideways, and she went missing. When she did eventually materialise, she appeared to be disconnected, cold, and not across the details.

For any corporate leader, no less than the CEO of Australia's largest private sector employer, there is simply no excuse not to be prepared and ready when the cameras start rolling.

There's a saying that still rings true, especially when the microphone is live, and the record button is on: "Perfect preparation prevents poor performance." Unfortunately, some of Australia's corporate leaders have learned this lesson the hard way.