Last week’s high-profile axing of principal Rosa Storelli from Melbourne institution Methodist Ladies’ College over the alleged non-repayment of salary perks got us thinking about the blue-chip corporates who helm the country’s elite band of independent schools.
Sometimes behind the scenes, more often screaming for attention on school websites and LinkedIn pages, the nation’s business leaders regard a private school sinecure as the ultimate networking opportunity, a chance to “give back”, or to stay in touch with the kids they neglected to pursue their white collar careers.
The perfect boardie for many schools is an old boy or girl turned-CEO of a listed company, a current or former parent, with a few other directorships thrown in for good measure. More overtly churchy campuses usually include an archbishop such as Sydney gay lifespan expert Peter Jensen at the helm in a ceremonial role — but pulling the strings are a who’s who of Australia’s boardroom players. Many sit beside a high-powered “foundation” charged with raking in cash from benefactors, in addition to the millions gleaned each term in fees.
MLC’s jaw-dropping board responsible for Storelli’s sacking includes Melbourne University Press CEO Louise Adler, Australia Post CEO Ahmed Fahour, KPMG media gadfly Bernard Salt, Qantas, NAB and JB Were director (and current parent) Patricia Cross, former La Trobe deputy VC Belinda Probert and ex-Crazy John’s CEO and Australia Post director Brendan Fleiter. The board was previously chaired by former Qantas chair Margaret Jackson.
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Amusingly, Salt denied in this morning’s Herald Sun that the group was too corporate, claiming it “comprises pretty much the kind of people you would find at any MLC function.”
Let’s kick off with some schools drawn from Mark Latham’s 67-strong 2004 private school hit-list that, as Inside Story‘s Peter Browne discovered recently, was actually a bonus for Labor in the polls. And after seven long years, it’s also time to update Crikey‘s list of famous old boys and girls from the nation’s bastions of blazer-clad privilege, some of whom are listed below.
Send all additions, changes and corrections to [email protected] and we’ll keep the list updated
New South Wales
- Ascham School: chaired by Macquarie, Bluescope and (former) Woolworths director Diane Grady; treasurer is Morgan Stanley CEO Steven Harker and Goldman Sachs investment banking co-chair Tim Burroughs is also going strong
- Cranbrook School: eastern suburbs power factory chaired by corporate director extraordinaire and Bradley Review co-author Helen Nugent (Macquarie, Origin Energy and Freehills), multi-millionaire vice chair Roger Massy-Greene (Eureka Capital Partners chair) and former News Limited cadet Sarita England. The education committee is chaired by Sydney Uni VC Michael Spence.
- Frensham School: board chaired by Qantas HR supremo Gabrielle Curtin
- Kambala: Annoyingly fails to list its 14-member school council on its website. Was previously chaired by former federal Liberal Party president Chris McDiven.
- Knox Grammar School: blue-chip council heaving with A-list talent including ABC kingpin and old boy Mark Scott, KPMG CEO Geoff Wilson, Metcash, Tower and Selmat director Fiona Balfour, ex-Rural Press director and Fairfax family right hand man Peter Roach, Merrill Lynch MD Richard Alcock and the St James Ethics Centre’s Simon Longstaff
- MLC School: chaired by finance industry tsar and old girl Pauline Johnston
- Newington College: board stacked full of old boys including land and environment judge Robert Talbot and crime Magistrate Greg Grogin. When’s ABC old boy Tony Jones hopping on?
- Pittwater House: chaired by leading NSW beak Todd Alexis
- Presbyterian Ladies’ College: medical focus including Sydney Uni Bosch Professor Warwick Britton and prominent doctor David Lim
- Pymble Ladies’ College: chaired by REIT industry figure and Trafalgar CEO Braith Williams
- Ravenswood School for Girls: chaired by former Minters CEO Guy Templeton
- St Ignatius College, Riverview: star-studded board including PR queen and multiple-government boardie Gabrielle Trainor and St Vincent’s health director Paul Robertson
- SCEGGS Darlinghurst: former ABC 702 host turned Coke spinner Sally Loane, Good News Week talking head (and old girl) Julie McCrossin and Australia Post/BlueScope Steel director Penny Bingham-Hall all there
- Redlands: AMP general counsel Brian Salter is a director
- Shore: Chairman was formerly grocer turned Fairfax chair Roger Corbett. Board of trustees currently chaired by collar-bomb hoax victim dad and IT honcho Bill Pulver.
- Sydney Grammar School: trustees chaired by former Fairfax CEO (now Trade Me chair) David Kirk and included Federal Court judge Arthur Emmett and QC Mark Tedeschi
- The King’s School: run by church worthies
- The Scots College: chaired by TressCox Lawyers partner Philip Mitchell
- Tudor House: supported by ex-school captain and cricketer James Packer; overseen by the King’s board
- Wenona School: deputy chair is Family Court judge Ann Ainslie-Wallace
- Brighton Grammar: Guy Rundle and Warwick Capper went there but they’re probably not feted by the dynamic board trio of PriceWaterhouseCoopers partners John Yeoman and Ian Paroissien and Corrs, Chambers Westgarth partner Peter Ickeringill.
- Camberwell Grammar: chaired by Fair Work Australia deputy president Greg Smith
- Carey Baptist Grammar School: heaving 11-strong board includes Carin Kloppers (Marius’ wife), ex-Orica CEO Graeme Liebelt, triumphant Bruce Guthrie unfair dismissal barrister Norman O’Bryan SC and the Grattan Insititute’s Ben Jensen
- Caulfield Grammar School: chaired by super fund supremo and Grand Master Mason John Evans. Boardroom seat presumably kept warm for old boy Nick Cave but not killer Matthew Wales.
- Fintona Girls School: finance committee convener is Victorian Funds Management Corporation client services tsar Malcolm Ashbolt
- Firbank Grammar School: chaired by real estate identity Peter Trumble
- Geelong College: board stacked full of G-town players including Michael Betts and hardware notable Barry Fagg
- Geelong Grammar: Rupert Murdoch’s alma mater chaired by high-powered investment banker and former Alan Stockdale CoS Jeremy Kirkwood. Directors include former ASIC deputy chair and super review specialist Jeremy Cooper, Tabcorp (and Leighton and ANZ and Lion) director Paula Dwyer and Rupert’s nephew Paddy Handbury.
- Haileybury College: chaired by former Allens Arthur Robinson managing partner Tom Poulton
- Ivanhoe Grammar School: Stephen Mayne and Harry Jenkins alma mater chaired by Pro Medicus director and former Patties, Danks Holdings Limited and Ernst & Young Corporate Finance managing partner Peter Kempen
- Kilvington Baptist Girls’ Grammar School: health sector heavy board including psychiatry Professor Jayashri Kulkarni and Eastern Health director Stuart Alford
- Korowa Anglican Girls’ School: council members include former Channel Nine and Herald & Weekly Times journo and CoS-turned beak Sally Gluyas
- Lauriston Girls’ School: chaired by Ashurst partner (former BDW) Elspeth Arnold. Where’s Healthy, Wealthy and Wise‘s former roving ambassador and old girl Felicity Kennett?
- Melbourne Girls’ Grammar: Mallesons’ partner Michael Clough looks after governance while ex-beef industry figure and former AWB director Fred Grimwade chairs the finance committee
- Melbourne Grammar School: chaired by former Monash Uni VC Richard Larkins with Jim Cousins AO also on the board.
- Mentone Girls’ Grammar: former La Trobe Uni chancellor Sylvia Walton (current St Catherine’s principal) and multicultural guru Hass Dellal OAM
- Mentone Grammar: chaired by pharma identity Simon Appel OAM. Needs to get old boy Shane Warne back.
- Methodist Ladies’ College: hallowed Hawthorn power-nexus starring Louise Adler, Ahmed Fahour, Bernard Salt, Belinda Probert, Brendan Fleiter, PwC managing partner (and Melbourne Uni Student Union services arm chair) Tony Peake, Patrick Ng and Julie Landvogt. Board was previously chaired by former Qantas chair Margaret Jackson.
- Peninsula School: led by foundation chair and company director around town Ron Zammit
- Presbyterian Ladies’ College (PLC): property and planning sub-committee chaired by Supreme Court justice and VCAT president Greg Garde QC
- Ruyton Girls’ School: high-powered fund manager general counsel Kathryn Watt nicely complemented by former Crikey editor turned smooth-talking ABC Radio National host Jonathan Green. Need to get old girl Michelle Grattan on when she leaves Capital Hill.
- Scotch College: uber-director David Crawford (BHP Billiton, Lend Lease, ex-Foster’s, Westpac and National Foods) headed up a coterie of blue-chippers before his resignation earlier this month. Luckily, former federal Liberal minister and state Liberal president David Kemp was on hand to step up. BoA Merrill Lynch local chieftain Craig Drummond, PwC partner Michael Happell and Bell Potter stock picker Michael Sim round out the clique, which is relentlessly promoted on the school’s website.
- St Catherine’s School: Toorak accent-warp specialists boast Ashurst partner and Qantas foundation chair John Field as deputy chair and capital markets gatekeeper Allan Holmes as treasurer
- St Michael’s Grammar School: Your Rights at Work mastermind and Asher’s uncle Richard Keddie (Little Fish) toils alongside Federal Court Judge Michelle Gordon and ANZ global finance go-to man Paul Orton
- Trinity Grammar School: chair is Garry Ringwood, ex-RMIT deputy chancellor and former Amcor board member; no sign yet of balaclava-wearing AMWU run-through specialist Craig Johnston (who also went to Carey).
- Wesley College: stable operation with chair Peter Harrison serving for 20 years. The only private school to protest at S11 also boasts PwC partner and board member Peter Le Huray and Linfox executive Andrew Nicholls.
- Xavier College: board features priests, 3AW general manager Shane Healey and serial director and ex-Foster’s Asia MD Jim King. Beer connection confirmed with former Foster’s CFO Tony Reeves also saddling up. Some of the sponsor’s product was no doubt central to some of these well-documented incidents.
- Scotch College Adelaide: plenty of SA notables including former Ernst & Young partner and founding Ferrier Hodgson partner Ross Haslam
- St Peter’s College: board includes SA Labor’s “chairman of choice” and Olympic Dam adviser Bruce Carter. The Ferrier Hodgson partner/superdirector is also on Julia Gillard’s GST review panel
- Anglican Church Grammar School: mostly old boys and mid-tier directors at ‘Churchie’, although Sally Pitkin is a former Clutz partner, deputy chairman of the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation and a member of the Queensland Competition Authority
- Brisbane Boys’ College, Clayfield College, Somerville House and Sunshine Coast Grammar are all overseen by the Prebyterian and Methodist Schools Association dominated by church leaders. Federal Court judge Andrew Greenwood is on the BBC council though.
- Brisbane Girls’ Grammar School: chaired by Elizabeth Jameson, director of Tarong Energy, RACQ and MAP Funds Management Ltd; treasurer is Tony Youn
- St Margaret’s: big pro-director chair in Annabelle Chaplain who helps run PanAus, the Board of Taxation, Downer edi, Canstar and Honeycombes Property Group. Risk Management Committee chair Glenys Hodges is special counsel at Allens Arthur Robinson.
- The Southport School: chaired by former rugby union champion Fraser Perrin; deputy chair is local KPMG point man Paul Steer.
Australian Capital Territory
- Canberra Grammar: chaired by senior John Howard cabinet office operative and Westpac lobbyist Mark Baker with veteran former Mallesons’ partner Ian Johnson as vice.
- Canberra Church of England Girls’ Grammar School: chaired by former APS assistant secretary Robyn McKay. McKay was on the independent panel advising the Productivity Commission on its study into the feasibility of a disability insurance scheme.
- St Mary’s Anglican Girls’ School: resource-sector central board with representatives of Illuka and BHP Billiton holding forth
- Hale School: mostly mid-ranking old boys with the important exception of LotteryWest CEO Jan Stewart and Woodside Energy VP Mary Hackett
- St Hilda’s: deputy chair is current Fortescue spinner and ex-Colin Barnett chief-of-staff Deidre Willmott; chair is WA Senior Women Lawyer of the Year Karen Farley
- PLC Perth: Tracey Horton, director of Skilled Group, is chair while Takeovers Panel member Robin Ahearn on the business and finance committee
*Know more? Send us entries and corrections and we’ll keep updating …