Wesfarmers chief executive Richard Goyder was named WA business leader of the year and $90,000 was donated to charity at the inaugural AIM WA WestBusiness Pinnacle Awards.
More than 600 guests, including Premier Colin Barnett and Governor Malcolm McCusker, attended Crown Perth on Thursday night.
The awards, a collaboration between The West Australian’s business section and the Australian Institute of Management WA, recognised excellence in business across a range of fields.
A total of 117 entries were received from companies vying for Pinnacle awards for Aboriginal leadership development, philanthropy, customer service, green initiatives, human resource management, innovation, marketing and regional small business.
Each winner was awarded $10,000 to donate to a charity of their choice.
Mr Goyder took out the main award because of outstanding community and business leadership in 2013, a year in which he was the head of the Australian delegation to the B20 summit of the world’s most influential corporate leaders.
He donated his $10,000 prize to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
Editor of The West Australian Brett McCarthy told the audience that the newspaper had a proud history of chronicling business in WA.
He quoted from the January 5, 1833, edition of one of The West’s linear ancestors — the Perth Gazette and Western Australian Journal — which carried a lot of business-focused news.
Among other news, McCarthy said, was the announcement of the opening of the Wheat Sheaf Tavern at 1 Murray Street.
“It was reported that the licensee, one Jane Barron, promised good service courtesy of ‘assiduous attention to the comfort of her guests and from the quality of her liquors’,” McCarthy said.
AIM WA chief executive Gary Martin, whose organisation oversaw a rigorous judging program to determine category winners, said the awards were named the Pinnacles because the word had a WA connection and reflected the peak of achievement.
“The landscape of WA business continues to evolve but we have seen signs that the robust Australian economy may begin to falter, unless we see reform to ensure increased productivity,” he said.
“So, strong business leadership becomes even more relevant and necessary for WA business into the future and the importance of programs such as the Pinnacles in promoting excellence in business leadership more critical.”
Mr Barnett said the Pinnacle awards came at a time of maturing of the WA economy following the gold rushes of the 1890s and minerals boom of the 1960s. He noted that the baby boomer generation, of which he is a part, were the custodians of the resources boom and issued a light-hearted warning to “pushy generation X”.
“We won’t go easily,” he said to a laughing crowd.
“We will leave you a burden. We have already spent your inheritance and if we haven’t, we will make a good job of it over the next 10 years.”