Simon McKeon

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Simon Vincent McKeon
AO
Born 1955
Melbourne
Nationality Australian
Education B Com, LL B
Alma mater University of Melbourne
Occupation Lawyer
Years active 1979 – present
Organization Chairman, CSIRO
Known for Businessman, philanthropist
Home town Melbourne, Victoria
Title Australian of the Year
Term 2011
Predecessor Patrick McGorry
Successor Geoffrey Rush
Partner(s) Amanda Jane Breidahl (1979 -2011) Heather Forbes (2011 - present)
Children Four sons
Website
Australia Day
CSIRO

Simon Vincent McKeon AO (born 1955) is an Australian businessman, philanthropist and sportsman. On 25 January 2011 he was named Australian of the Year for 2011 by Prime Minister Julia Gillard.[1][2]

Business[edit]

After completing a Bachelor of Commerce in 1976 and Bachelor of Law in 1978, both at the University of Melbourne,[3] Simon McKeon practiced law in Sydney with Blake Dawson Waldron before taking up a post with the Macquarie Bank,[4] where he became the Executive Chairman (Melbourne Office).[5] He was President of the statutory dispute resolution body for Australian public company takeovers, the Australian Takeovers Panel from 1999– 2010. He was also the Chairman of software specialist MYOB LTD 2006-2009.[6] McKeon was announced chairman of CSIRO in June 2010, replacing Dr John Stocker.[6] During 2012, McKeon chaired the Strategic Review of Health and Medical Research, an independent review of health and medical research in Australia which recommended a 10-year strategic health and research medical plan for the nation. McKeon was appointed Chairman of AMP on May 8 2014, replacing Peter Mason. McKeon was appointed to the AMP Limited Board on 27 March 2013. McKeon is a fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. McKeon is the inaugural President of the Australian banking industry's Review Panel for the Banking and Financing oath.

Philanthropy[edit]

McKeon is Chairman of global Poverty Project Australia and is also a director of Red Dust Role Models, which works with remote indigenous communities. He is on the advisory board of the Melbourne magazine "The Big Issue" which seeks to create awareness about the issues relating to homelessness. McKeon serves as a patron of MS Research Australia and as an Ambassador for National Disability Services ( Victoria.) McKeon is an Australia Day Ambassador for the Victorian Government. He serves on the University of Melbourne's Campaign Board.

McKeon was a director of World Vision Australia from 1994 - 2005. He also served on the board of World Vision’s International's Vision Fund from 2004 - 2012 which has the responsibility for WVI 's micro economic development activities.

McKeon was Founding Chair of MS Research Australia from 2004 - 2010 and has also previously served on the Boards of MS Australia and MS Victoria.

He also volunteered as a counsellor for heroin addicts at the First Step Clinic in St Kilda.[7]

He has been a part-time lecturer with Melbourne University's Masters of Applied Finance and Masters of Laws courses and has been a member of the Advisory Board of the University's Centre for Energy and Resources Law.

He was also Chairman of the Board of the Association of Independent Schools Victoria from 2005 - 2008. He has previously served on the Victorian Rhodes Scholarship Committee, the Council of St Leonard's College, Victoria and also on the board of Beaconhills College, Victoria.

McKeon served as Chairman of the Federal Government's Point Nepean Community Trust from 2004 - 2009. He has been the Business Ambassador for the World Wildlife Fund's Earth Hour initiative and an Ambassador for Parks Victoria's Healthy Parks Healthy People International Congress 2010.

He has also served on the Federal Government's Human Rights Grants Scheme Advisor Panel and AusAID's Business Engagement Steering Committee.

Climate change[edit]

On climate change, McKeon has expressed his desire to see the topic raised to the top of both the "political and public agenda".[8] He said "We may not have all the answers to what is occurring, ... [b]ut the point is, why wouldn't one take out very strong insurance to at least do what we can to future-proof our well-being?".[8]

Sport[edit]

For many years Simon McKeon was involved with the International Catamaran Challenge Trophy (more commonly known as the "Little Americas Cup"). McKeon served as helmsman for Australia's successful syndicate between 1985 and 1996.[4] Outside of the Little Americas Cup, McKeon and his sailing partner Tim Daddo held the world sailing speed record of 46.52 knots (86.16 km/h; 53.53 mph) from 1993 until 2004, set in their sailboat Yellow Pages Endeavour. An attempt to reclaim the record in 2005 from Finian Maynard (who surpassed McKeon and Daddo's record in 2004) failed when structural problems caused the destruction of their vessel's main wing.[9] In 2009 McKeon and Daddo, with McKeon at the helm, sailed Macquarie Innovation at a sustained speed of over 50 knots – the first sailing vessel to do so.

Along with his sailing achievements, McKeon is Patron of the Australian Olympic Sailing Team, and served as Club Captain at the McCrae Yacht Club between 2004 and 2006.[4]

Honours[edit]

On 11 June 2012, McKeon was named an Officer of the Order of Australia for "distinguished service to business and commerce through leadership and advisory roles, and to the community as a supporter of national and international charitable, educational and sporting organisations."[10]

McKeon was named the 2011 ABF Australian Banking Ambassador of the Year.

For his contribution to MS Research Australia, McKeon received the John Studdy Award which is MS Australia's highest honour.

Personal[edit]

Simon McKeon and Heather Forbes announced their engagement on April 22 2014.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Oakes, Dan (25 January 2011). "Simon McKeon named 2011 Australian of the Year". smh.com.au. Retrieved 25 January 2011. 
  2. ^ http://www.health.gov.au/internet/ministers/publishing.nsf/Content/mr-yr11-mb-mb114.htm
  3. ^ "Mr Simon McKeon: CSIRO Board Chairman". CSIRO. Retrieved 26 January 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c "Simon McKeon". Australia Day. State Government of Victoria. Retrieved 26 January 2011. 
  5. ^ "Simon McKeon named Australian of the Year". ABC. 25 January 2011. 
  6. ^ a b Atkins, William (21 June 2010). "Simon McKeon becomes CSIRO head". itwire.com. Retrieved 25 January 2011. 
  7. ^ The Age 5 December 2004
  8. ^ a b "Macquarie boss gets CSIRO top job". ABC News. 21 June 2010. Retrieved 26 January 2011. 
  9. ^ Guerrera, Orietta (12 December 2005). "Dream of reclaiming sailing record falls to pieces". The Age. Retrieved 26 January 2010. 
  10. ^ "Officer (AO) in the General Division of the Order of Australia – The Queen's Birthday 2012 Honours Lists". Official Secretary to the Governor-General of Australia. 11 June 2012. p. 27.