In 2004, Nugent was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Australia, "for service to the performing arts, to business and the financial services industry, particularly in the area of corporate governance, and to the community."
Education and early career
Nugent completed a Bachelor of Arts and PhD at the University of Queensland (UQ), and earned a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School. She taught history at UQ from 1971 to 1980, and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Business degree in 2009.
Nugent was a Professor of Management and MBA Program Director at the Australian Graduate School of Management in Sydney from 1992 to 1994. She commenced a business career as Director of Strategy at Westpac Banking Corporation, and later as a partner at McKinsey & Company specialising in financial services and mining.
Nugent is currently an independent company director, serving on the boards of the investment bank Macquarie Group, law firm Freehills, Origin Energy, reinsurer Swiss Re Australia (Chairman) and Funds SA, a South Australian superannuation fund (Chairman). She is a former director of numerous other companies, including Australia Post, Carter Holt Harvey and the State Bank of New South Wales.
Nugent has also been involved in the governance of several Australian universities and schools. She was a member of the panel that reviewed Australian higher education for the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. In 2009, she was appointed as the Chancellor of Bond University. She is the current President of the Cranbrook School Council, and served a five-year term on the council of Monash University from 1987 to 1992. In addition, she has served on the boards of several arts organisations, including Opera Australia and the National Portrait Gallery.
- It's An Honour (2010). Helen Marion Nugent. Retrieved 13 March 2010.
- University of Queensland (2010). Citation – Dr Helen Nugent AO. Retrieved 13 March 2010.
- DEEWR (2010). Review of Higher Education - Expert Panel. Retrieved 13 March 2010.
- Healy, Guy (10 March 2009). "Helen Nugent named chancellor at Bond". The Australian. News. Retrieved 9 August 2012.