One sunny afternoon last September, more than 250 handpicked members of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, or CSIRO, gathered in a grandstand of the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Researchers, business directors and site managers, they were among the most senior administrators in Australian science, many of them flown in from all corners of the country to take part in what CSIRO chief executive Larry Marshall called a Strategy Start-Up Event.
They took to their seats, eager to hear Marshall's opening address, an outline of his vision for the future. Instead, Marshall strode onto the ground dressed head to toe in cricket whites, bat held aloft, his image broadcast on the ground's big screen. "We just sat in the seats watching," said one attendee. "It was bizarre."
A a closer look into Marshall's past raises questions about his successes before landing the job. "Many of the people and their international colleagues who have had interactions with Marshall were staggered by his selection.
He not only had never had experience in running an organisation as large as CSIRO, his science credentials could be exaggerated.
Marshall was seen as the perfect choice by the Coalition, he'd be the best to take the 100-year old CSIRO into a modern age of innovation and digital disruption and his appointment was at arms length from the government.
Marshall was in America for the next 25 years, Marshall's record as a "business leader" was described by chairman Simon McKeon as "impeccable". Marshall lists one of his successes as IRIDEX, which used lasers to treat eye damage due to diabetes. Marshall says he was a vice-president and co-founder of the company.
Marshall's other business of note was Arasor, an Australian company that dealt in fibre optic and wireless solutions, Arasor's holding company was in the Cayman Islands.
It was troubled from the start: a week before the float, the company was subject to legal action from a number of suppliers for alleged breach of contract. By early 2011, Arasor had gone into external administration owing investors $81 million. Marshall and other directors are now being sued by shareholders in the Federal Court for allegedly providing misleading or deceptive financial statements.
People were told that "He is very, very well known in Silicon Valley.
According to scientist, technologist and businessman, Greg Clarke, "Larry Marshall had zero visibility in Silicon Valley".
One of America's biggest venture capitalists, who made his money in Silicon Valley, described Marshall as "one of very, very many journeymen".
In March, staff of the Land and Water division staged a mass walk out from a question and answer session with Marshall at the CSIRO's Black Mountain site, in Canberra. "Which was completely unprecedented, for staff to turn their backs on the chief executive while is he talking is incredible."
Marshall's cuts to the CSIRO's climate division have been criticised worldwide, including from the New York Times, and in an open letter, sent to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, signed by 3000 scientists from 60 countries.
"What you are dealing with here is a breakdown in the recruitment and selection process," says New Zealand climate scientist Kevin Trenberth, who shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for his work on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). "The little I know about Marshall makes it seem most inappropriate for him to lead CSIRO: sort of like the preposterous proposition of Donald Trump becoming president of the US."
The Minister Christopher Pyne's spokesman in reply to a query said: "The appointment of Dr Marshall underwent a rigorous and extensive selection process, led by the CSIRO board, which identified him as the best person to guide Australia's leading scientific and research organisation."