Bianca Rinehart will be the new trustee of the Rinehart family trust following yesterday's decision in the NSW Supreme Court. But it's likely this family saga is not over with other legal action pending. Families working together towards common goals have been shown to drive amazing outcomes for Australian businesses...but in the case of the Rineharts there could hardly have been less cohesion. I am struck by a number of what-ifs...what if the family had been able to find a way to collaborate effectively when it came to making decisions about the family's wealth? What if they had been able to develop an effective governance framework to manage wealth transfer across generations? What if they had been able to agree on a way to resolve disputes, before they actually occurred? Unfortunately we may never know.
The case has revealed nasty details of the feud between the four siblings and their wealthy mother. Court documents tendered last month revealed that Gina Rinehart was repeatedly referred to by her only son John Hancock as “the fat” and “fatty”, with emails revealing he urged his sister Bianca to join him in legal action against their mother over their trust. Emails between 2004 and 2006 showed Mr Hancock told his sister “Fat would have quickly grown tired of supporting your shopping and leisure activities” and “hopefully you will have another man to take care of you” in the aftermath of her break up with swimmer Grant Hackett.