Top Australians in global business


January 20, 2017

We're tracking current and former position holders of the most successful Australian executives and directors in business on the world stage. Worth doing for Crikey.

Currently holding prestigious offshore positions

Graham Allan: the former Shell executive was briefly John Elliott's offsider in the early 1990s, but then built a career at global restaurants giant Yum Brands where he has been chief operating officer since 2003, and is now president and has made more than $20 million for his efforts.

Simon Beresford-Wylie - the former Federal public servant and Telstra executive heads the $43 billion telecommunications giant that formed when Finland's Nokia and Germany's Siemens merged their telco network equipment businesses. Joined the Nokia group executive board in February 2005 and has dual UK-Australian citizenship. He retired as the CEO of Nokia Siemens Networks on September 30, 2009. On November 4, 2009, Beresford-Wylie became the CEO of Elster Group, technology and innovation driven provider of smart metering and smart grid systems and solutions to the gas, electricity and water industries.

Philip Bowman - worked in accountancy and venture development in Iran, Australia and the USA and and is also a non-executive director of BSkyB. The former Coles Myer finance director who blew the whistle on Yannon and went on to become CEO of grog giant Allied Domecq in London, before it was taken over in a $20 billion deal. Then become Scottish Power CEO before selling that to Spanish firm Iberdrola in 2006 and now CEO of UK defence and engineering firm Smiths Group whilst retaining a couple of big non-executive board positions.


Jill Ker-Conway - despite being a failure as Lend Lease chairman she is still a director Nike and Colgate-Palmolive and served for 19 years on the Merrill Lynch board until 2007, her final two years as lead independent director just as the huge sub-prime positions were being accumulated.

Roger Corbett - the former Woolworths CEO has never worked outside Australia but his position on the Walmart board is still highly prestigious.

Andrew Day - former Sensis CEO who quit in 2004 to become CEO of world directories business Apax-Cinven in Europe.

Doug Elix - Adelaide-born boss of IBM Sales and Distribution, the $US45 billion services arm of the global giant. Joined IBM in 1969 and became CEO of IBM Australia in 1994. After leaving Australia Elix was initially Senior Vice President and Group Executive, IBM Global Services. Rumoured to have been approached to be CEO of Telstra.

David Evans - the former managing director of Channel Nine in Melbourne went to Hollywood to successfully run the Hallmark Channel and remains an international player through his position serving on the BSkyB board in London.

Ahmed Fahour:
Melbourne boy who made his name at McKinsey but in 2002 rose to be CEO of Citigroup's New York-based alternative investments division responsible for private equity, hedge funds and real estate. Returned Down Under in 2003 to run Citigroup's Australian operations and was then poached by NAB to run its Australasian operations and join the main board. Missed out in race to become NAB's CEO to Cameron Clyne and subsequently headed to Bahrain where he is CEO of Gulf Finance House, an Islamic investment bank.

Richard Goodmanson - the tough nut from Queensland is chief operating officer of chemical giant Du Pont, but was also CEO of America West Airlines and even ran most of Pepsico's US operations for seven years after an initial 11 year stint with McKinsey. Also a director of Rio Tinto and on the board of QANTAS.

James Gorman - former head of Merrill Lynch's global private client group before taking charge of global strategy in 2005. Was poached by Morgan Stanley to head retail in early 2006, then in 2008 rose to be one of two vice-presidents and was tapped to head the combined Morgan Stanley and Citi brokerage joint venture, making him one of the most powerful executives on Wall Street. This was confirmed in September 2009 when he was named as the successor to long-serving global CEO John Mack, a position he assumes in early 2010 although Mack will remain as non-executive chairman.

Malcolm Gough - was the first non-Japanese executive to take charge of a Mazda subsidiary when appointed CEO of the Australian company in 1997 and has now been promoted to executive general manager overseas sales in Japan.

Ray Greenshields - educated at UNSW, he spent over 30 years working for AMP, before moving to Zurich Financial Services as chief executive of its UK, Ireland and international life business, where he stayed for two years, before leaving in 2002. Then spent three years running Wealth Solutions for Barclays in the UK and was an executive director of Standard Life.

Tony Helsham - joined Volvo in 1985 and since 2000 has been President of Volvo Construction Equipment. In 2008 he was replaced in this role but still remains in the Volvo Group Executive Committee with a responsibility to support the growth of ‘soft' products in the Group.

James Hogan:
the old Ivanhoe Grammar boy is the global CEO of Etihad Airlines, which recently bought the naming rights to Melbourne's Docklands stadium and is the major sponsor of the Ferrari formula one team.

David Hill - former global head of Fox Sports for News Corp and arguably the international doyen of sports broadcasting.

Les Hinton - Rupert Murdoch's long-time managing director of UK newspaper division News International who is now running Dow Jones out of New York.

Michael Hintze - London-based hedge fund manager who looks after about $10 billion and is estimated to worth $600 million. A former Australian solider who attended Sydney University and started out with Salomon Brothers on Wall Street. Gives plenty away, including to the Tories.

Ian Johnson
- the current CEO of Foster's was previously the London-based global head of confectionary for Cadbury Schweppes.

David Johnson - Chairman and CEO of Campbell Soup Co from 1990-97 and still a figurehead leader to this day, whilst also sitting on the Colgate-Palmolive board alongside fellow Australian Jill Ker-Conway.

Heather Killen - Jim Killen's daughter is a former AFR journalist who rose to become a vice-president of Yahoo! during the dotcom boom and is now managing partner of Hemisphere Capital, a London-based boutique firm providing capital, funding and connections to IT and digital media-related firms. Also was a director of ITV until 2009 and used to work for Salomon Brothers in New York.

Andrew Liveris: Darwin-born and Brisbane-raised lad who has risen to be CEO of Dow Chemical and also sits on the 17-strong Citigroup board.

David Mackay - born in Hamilton, New Zealand, he studied business at Charles Stuart University and joined Kellogg Australia as group product manager in 1985. He left to become managing director of Sara Lee in Australia, but returned to Kellogg in 1998 as managing director, Kellogg Australia. He's now President and CEO Kelloggs globally.

John Martin - managing director of Standard Chartered Bank in London. Brisbane-school energy banker who did 26 years with ABN Amro and represents the British oil industry on the World Petroleum Council.





Trevor Matthews - has an MA in Actuarial Studies from Macquarie University, Sydney. He spent 26 years with Legal & General, but moved to NAB in 1996. He joined Manulife Financial in 1998 running Canada and then Japan, before taking charge of UK financial services for Standard Life. Now he is the CEO of Friends Provident in the UK.

Tom Mockridge - CEO of News Corp's booming Italian pay-TV business, Sky Italia. Mockridge is a former SMH and News Ltd journalist. He did his cadetship at the Taranaki Daily News in New Zealand, was press officer for Paul Keating when he was Treasurer. He was CEO of Foxtel from 1997-2000 before running News Corp's New Zealand operations.

John Morrison - the London-based CEO of Man Investments, which runs the world's largest independent manager of hedge funds, with 1500 staff in 15 countries. Started out as a Sydney lawyer and then a Labor staffer before joining John Elliott's Elders Finance in 1986. Later moved to Ord Minnett where a Man joint venture set him on the path to today's position running $US70 billion.

John Mullen - CEO of DHL Express, a $US28 billion revenue market leader in the international documents, packages and logistics industry. DHL employs over 170,000 people across 220 countries and territories making it one of the most international companies in the world. The former TNT veteran also sits on the board of management of Deutsche Post World Net, the parent of DHL and the world's biggest transport company. He is also a director of Telstra and Brambles, suggesting a return to Australia as a professional director is on the cards.

Rupert Murdoch - executive chairman of News Corp. Rupert studied at Oxford and worked in Fleet Street before taking over the family newspaper business in October 1952. He expanded throughout Australia and in 1969 bought the UK titles the News of the World and The Sun. In 1976 he bough the New York Post, The Times and The Sunday Times. In the 1980s News Corp bought 20th Century Fox and began the Fox Network, and in the 1990s News developed satellite television in the UK and Asian markets. Capped it all off by buying Dow Jones in 2007.

John Pollaers - successfully ran the Australian division of Diageo, the world's largest alcohol company, with booming launches such as "ready to drink" beverages like Ruski, before going on to become President Diageo Asia Pacific. Touted as the next global CEO, within 5 years, and he is still relatively young in his 40s.

Rob Rankin
: the Australian expat made a fortune as the Hong Kong-based Asian head of investment banking for UBS since 2003 and in 2009 was appointed as Asia-Pacific CEO for Deutsche Bank.

Peter Sullivan: a global banker who rose to run Standard Chartered's successful Asian operations out of Hong Kong before retiring to London to become a professional director which includes one Australian gig on the board of Axa Asia Pacific Holdings.

Elmar Toime - the former executive deputy chairman of Britain's Royal Mail was born in Italy but educated in Australia before he moved to New Zealand in 1987, rising to run the SkyCity casino business. Headed for London to climb the ladder Royal Mail and these days is chairman of Postea Inc, Message AG and is a non-executive director of Blackbay. Other gigs have included advising Earth Class Mail Corp, the global leader in delivering postal mail via the Internet and a spot on the supervisory board of the Deutsche Post World Net, the world's leading logistics group.

Kevin Wale - an Australian climbing the ranks inside General Motors who now runs its Chinese operation which sells almost 1 million vehicles a year.

Australian high flyers no longer working offshore

Charlie Bell -
began his career at McDonald's in 1971, flipping burgers in a suburban Sydney McDonald's restaurant at age 15. A career Mackers man, he was CEO for most of 2004 until being tragically struck down by cancer.

John Bevan: rose up the ranks to be a main board executive director of British gas giant BOC but has now settled in Melbourne as CEO of the post box company Alumina, which owns a 40% stake in a global joint venture with Alcoa.

Geoffrey Bible - started his career with Philip Morris in 1968 as its financial head in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. He held various international positions before becoming CEO of Philip Morris International in 1987. Spent a decade on the News Corp board but now retired.

Bob Bishop - studied mathematical physics at the University of Adelaide and did his Masters in Science at New York University. Rose to be CEO of Silicon Graphics, before coming back to Australia.

Tony Burgess - former managing director and global co-head of mergers and acquisitions at Deutsche Bank. The Melbourne University gradudate and Harvard MBA first went to London in 2004 and was in charge of 300 people in 25 offices before leaving Deutsche Bank in April 2008. Now based in Melbourne running boutique advisory firm Palladio Partners.

Sam Chisholm - the former Nine Network CEO went on to spend almost a decade as CEO of BSkyB in London and now back in Australia and winding back his commitments after throwing his weight around on Telstra, Foxtel and PBL for a few years.

Leigh Clifford - a mining engineer from Queensland, he joined Rio Tinto in 1970 and rose to be CEO until retiring in 2007. Remains a director of Barclays Bank and replaced Margaret Jackson as chairman of Qantas where he is rebuilding the board.

Douglas Daft - the son of a Cessnock shoe store owner, Daft taught High School maths in Sydney before completing a business administration degree at the University of NSW. In 1969, he joined Coke as a planning officer, and over 30 years later became chairman and CEO but it was a troubled time at the top.

Leon Davis - former CEO of CRA in Australia who rose to lead the whole combined Rio Tinto show out of London. Now back in Australia where he has retired after a successful five years as chairman of Westpac.

Phil Merrick and Caren DeWitt - the co-founders of Webmethods founded the business in 1996 and floated in on the NASDAQ in February 2000. Whilst hit by the tech wreck it has survived and has annual revenues of almost $300 million. It is now apart of the Software AG product line.

Rod Eddington - former CEO of Cathay Pacific and Ansett who then spent five successful years as CEO of British Airways. Returned to Australia as a professional director at the end of 2005 and sits on the News Corp and Rio Tinto. However, an unsuccessful stint as a director of the disastrous Allco Finance Group ended his pitch to become chairman of ANZ. Still chairs JP Morgan's Australasian operation and the Rudd government's new Infrastructure Australia body.

John Ellice-Flint - the former Santos CEO spent 26 years with US energy giant Unocal, concluding as senior vice president and global exploration and technology.

Doug Flynn - a Newcastle boy who climbed the ranks at News Ltd and then ran the London-listed media and marketing services company, Aegis Group, before moving to Rentokil as CEO in 2005 after almost signing on the dotted line to take over at Fairfax. Now back in Australia and a director of WA News.

David French - formerly with ESSO Australia, he rose to be global head of environmental services for Exxon-Mobil.

Tony Froggatt
- an Australian who rose to be CEO of UK brewer Scottish & Newcastle for almost five years until returning to Australia in 2007 when he joined the Axa Asia Pacific board.

Peter Hearl - formerly with ESSO Australia, he rose to be president of Pizza Hut and then chief development office of parent company Yum Brands, although he retired on March 31, 2008.

Patricia Hewitt - the former Trade and Industry Minister in the Blair Government after a successful stint with Andersen Consulting.

Stuart McGill - former CEO of ESSO Australia who rose to become number three in the giant Dallas-based Exxon-Mobil Corporation - president of ExxonMobil Gas Marketing - before retiring after 38 years of service in July 2007.

Andrew Michelmore - the former WMC CEO spent two years in Moscow running the world's second biggest aluminium company, UC Rusal, before returning to Australia where to run Zinifex which then merged with Oxiana before almost going broke and requiring a Chinese Government bailout. Michelmore stuck with MinMetals to run the 6 operations acquired from Oz Minerals for $US1.2 billion.




Stephen Millar - is the CEO and President of Constellation Wines, which became the world's largest wine business when BRL Hardy was acquired by US company Constellation Brands Inc. He's still based in Adelaide.

Jac Nasser - former chief executive of Ford Motor Co where he spent 35 years and is now chairman of Polaroid and a director of BSkyB. AFter just three years on the BHP-Billiton board was elected by his colleagues to replace chairman Don Argus in early 2010. Born in Lebanon, but moved to Australia with his family in the 1950s and now lives in Michigan reflecting his Ford history.

John Pizzey -
former number two at Pittsburg-based aluminium giant Alcoa and chairman of the London Metals Exchange. He is a graduate of Melbourne University in Chemical Engineering and from RMIT in Management. Hasn't covered himself in glory since returning to Australia, especially from the board seat on the collapsed car parts manufacturer Ion. He is now on the boards of Iluka, Amcor and Alumina.

Mike Quigley - Studied Physics, Mathematics and Electrical Engineering at UNSW. He joined Alcatel, the world's biggest provider of broadband internet equipment, in 1971 as an engineering intern and rose to be president of Alcatel Americas, CEO of Alcatel USA and then global chief operating officer out of the Paris head office. Alcatel then merged with Lucent and he was briefly the merged entity's COO then President, Science Technology and Strategy before he left. Latest gig is running the Rudd Government's broadband company.

Paul Rayner: joined the old Rothmans in 1991 and rose to be chief operating officer of British America Tobacco's Australasian business before heading to London in 2002 as global finance director of the lung cancer giant. Now a non-executive director of Britain's biggest energy supplier Centrica and also joined the Qantas board in 2008.

Clive Standish - successfully ran the Australian operation of UBS in the 1990s and was promoted to be finance director of the Zurich-based banking giant before getting fired in 2007 for his part in the sub-prime disasters that required a bailout from the Singapore Government and then the Swiss government.

Steve Targett - was a main board director of Lloyds TSB in London responsible for wholesale and international banking, but then returned to ANZ in 2004 but has since moved on after missing out on the top job, sparking a $57 million lawsuit against the bank.

Evan Thornley - launched internet search and listings company Looksmart with wife Tracey from San Francisco in the 1990s and saw its market value peak at $7 billion during the dotcom boom, when he was briefly a paper billionaire. Returned to Australia and spent two years in the Victorian upper house as a Labor MP because quitting to run the Australian operation of enviro group Better Place and causing a furore just as a Cabinet post was being finalised.

Peter Tomsett - the former president and CEO of Canadian gold mining company Placer Dome, was an engineering graduate from UNSW who joined the company in 1986 but missed out on the top job when it was taken over by Barrick Gold.

Philip Twyman - the former second in command at AMP rose to head Morley, the Aviva (formerly Norwich Union) funds management arm, and also ran its overseas operations before returning to Australia and joining boards such as Perpetual, Medibank Private, IAG and Swiss Re.

William (Bill) Webb - former vice chairman and chief operating officer of Philip Morris where he worked for 35 years, including a stint in charge of the huge international division from 1993 to 1997.

James Wolfensohn - former Sydney lawyer and investment banker who rose to be the ninth president of the World Bank.

Check out all the Mayne Report business lists here. Go here to see the full comprehensive list of lists we've created documenting the dominance of foreign investors in Australia and our relative poor performance on the international business stage.