John Gandel

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John Gandel

Aaron Jonna Gandel

1935 (age 83–84)
ResidenceToorak, Melbourne
OccupationProperty developer
Net worth
Spouse(s)Pauline Gandel AC
Parent(s)Sam and Fay Gandel

John Gandel AC[3] (born 1935), an Australian businessman, property developer and philanthropist, made his fortune in the development of commercial real estate as well as shopping centres located in Melbourne, Victoria.

Gandel, who inherited much of his wealth from his Polish-immigrant parents, founders of the Sussan women's clothing chain, is consistently ranked within the top ten wealthiest Australians by net worth in both the Financial Review Rich List, where in 2017 he was ranked seventh with an assessed net worth of A$6.05 billion;[1] and in 2016 also ranked seventh by Forbes magazine, with an assessed net worth of US$3.2 billion.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Gandel was born in Australia in 1935,[4] the son of Sam and Fay Gandel, Jewish[5] immigrants from Poland. His parents operated a corsetry store on Collins Street in Melbourne.[4] Gandel was educated at Melbourne High School. He has one sister, Eva Gandel Besen.[4]


In the 1950s, Gandel took control of his parents' women's clothing business (then named Sussan) in the 1950s and with his brother-in-law Marc Besen grew it into a chain of over 200 stores.[4] In 1983, he bought the Chadstone Shopping Centre, selling Sussan to his brother-in-law in 1985 to concentrate on real estate. He subsequently built his own fortune in shopping centres.[6]

In July 1983, the Myer Emporium sold the Chadstone Shopping Centre to the Gandel Group for A$37 million, which has since managed and developed the complex into Australia's biggest shopping mall which is now[when?] valued at over A$3 billion. In July 1983, the Myer Emporium also sold the Northland Shopping Centre to the Gandel Group. Gandel's major assets are 50 per cent shares in Chadstone, and a 17 per cent stake in the listed Vicinity Centres that owns the other half. Gandel also owns significant stakes in listed property companies, besides the stake in Vicinity, worth about A$800 million, and a 15 per cent stake in Sydney-based property group, Charter Hall, in which he invested A$151 million.[7] In more recent years, he has started to wind down his full on involvement with the company and has since hired Peter Bird as the Chief Financial Officer

According to a January 2012 Herald Sun report, Gandel was the wealthiest man in Melbourne, with an estimated A$3.4 billion net worth.[8] In 2012 Gandel sold his stake in the Northland Shopping Centre for A$455 million and announced an A$500 million hotel and office redevelopment at Chadstone in 2011.[7] In 2006, Gandel bought a 50% stake in Plastro Irrigation Systems, an Israeli irrigation company. In May 2007, the majority owners of the company exercised a right they held and bought back these holdings.[9]


Since 1978, Gandel and his wife, Pauline Gandel, have headed up Gandel Philanthropy, one of the largest philanthropic family funds in Australia.[10] The foundation provides grants to charitable community organisations for Jewish and Australian causes.[11]

Gandel's philanthropy has focused on Judaism, education, medical causes and the arts. In 2010 he donated A$7.5 million to the National Gallery of Australia[7]; A$1 million to fight devastating bushfires in Victoria, recalling how their own home was destroyed by fire twenty years earlier, and A$1 million to Museums Victoria.[10]

In 2017, Gandel was appointed a Companion (AC) of the Order of Australia for his service to the community as a benefactor and supporter of a range of visual arts and cultural institutions, to youth education, medical and biotechnology innovation programs, to business and to the advancement of philanthropic giving.

Personal life[edit]

Gandel is married to Pauline, who, in 2019, was also appointed a Companion (AC) of the Order of Australia for her work for the community, in humanitarian, philanthropic and fundraising endeavours, and in social inclusion, as well as in building closer relations between Australia and Japan.[12] Together they have had four children.[13] John and Pauline Gandel live in Toorak, Melbourne.[3] In 1990, John Gandel was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in recognition of his service to business, commerce and to the community.[3]

In May 2006, Gandel was awarded an honorary doctorate of philosophy from Tel Aviv University, the university's highest honor, for his "business standing, broad leadership roles and philanthropic support in Australia and Israel." In the same month Gandel inaugurated the Gandel Institute for Adult Jewish Learning at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.[4][14]

Gandel was targeted as a possible major donor to Israeli politician Benjamin Netanyahu before the Likud's primary election in 2007,[15] which he subsequently won.

Wealth rankings[edit]

Year Financial Review
Rich List
Australia's 50 Richest
Rank Net worth (A$) Rank Net worth (US$)
2010[16] 5 Decrease $2.40 billion Increase
2011[17][18] 9 $3.45 billion Increase 6 Decrease $3.30 billion Increase
2012[6] 10 Decrease $3.35 billion Decrease 8 Decrease $3.20 billion Decrease
2013[19][20] 8 Increase $3.7 billion Increase 8 Steady $3.5 billion Increase
2014[21][22] 9 Decrease $4.08 billion Increase 8 Steady $3.2 billion Decrease
2015[23][24] 8 Increase $4.4 billion Increase 6 Increase $3.6 billion Increase
2016[25][2] 5 Increase $5.4 billion Increase 7 Decrease $3.2 billion Decrease
2017[1] 7 Decrease $6.05 billion Increase
Icon Description
Steady Has not changed from the previous year
Increase Has increased from the previous year
Decrease Has decreased from the previous year


  1. ^ a b c Stensholt, John, ed. (25 May 2017). "Financial Review Rich List 2017". Financial Review. Retrieved 8 June 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "2016 Australia's 50 Richest". Forbes Asia. January 2016. Retrieved 9 June 2016.
  3. ^ a b c "Search Australian Honours : GANDEL, John: Officer of the Order of Australia". It's an Honour. Commonwealth of Australia. 26 January 1990. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d e Big Pond Money: John Gandel Archived 29 January 2013 at the Wayback Machine 19 July 2012
  5. ^ The Gandel Institute for Adult Jewish Learning: About Us - Mr John Gandel AO & Mrs Pauline Gandel Archived 26 January 2013 at the Wayback Machine retrieved 9 March 2013.
  6. ^ a b "BRW Rich 200 Wealth Index". BRW Rich 200 Wealth Index. Australia. 24 May 2012. Retrieved 22 March 2014.
  7. ^ a b c Waters, Cara (12 April 2012). "Beware over-expansion: Reclusive retail billionaire John Gandel on how he's navigating the slowdown". Smart company. Retrieved 18 June 2012.
  8. ^ Hurley, David (8 January 2012). "Locals in wealth's top deck". Herald Sun. Australia. Retrieved 18 June 2012.
  9. ^ Gavison, Yoram (11 June 2007). "John Deere negotiating to buy controlling interest in Plastro". Haaretz. Israel. Retrieved 18 June 2012.
  10. ^ a b "Quiet billionaire's next move". The Australian. 14 October 2017. Retrieved 14 October 2017.
  11. ^ "Our Granting Philosophy". Gandel Philanthropy. Retrieved 14 October 2017.
  12. ^ "Australia Day Honours". Australian Jewish News. 26 January 2019. Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  13. ^ "Australia's 40 Richest: #5 John Gandel". Forbes Asia. 3 March 2010. Retrieved 18 June 2012.
  14. ^ Cashman, Greer Fay (23 May 2006). "Hebrew U president: Don't take Israel's Jewishness for granted. Gandel Institute for Adult Learning launched to foster Jewish literacy". Jerusalem Post. p. 5.
  15. ^ "Netanyahu's 'list of millionaires'". YnetNews. 22 October 2010. Retrieved 12 February 2017.
  16. ^ "Australia's 40 Richest: #6 Kerr Neilson". Forbes Asia. 3 March 2010. Retrieved 18 June 2012.
  17. ^ "Passport Power". BRW Rich 200 Wealth Index. Australia. 25 May 2011. Archived from the original on 10 November 2012. Retrieved 2 June 2012.
  18. ^ "Australia's 40 Richest: #8 Kerr Neilson". Forbes Asia. 1 February 2011. Retrieved 18 June 2012.
  19. ^ "BRW Rich 200: John Gandel". BRW. 22 May 2013. Retrieved 22 March 2014.
  20. ^ "Australia's 50 Richest: #8 John Gandel". Forbes Asia. 1 February 2013.
  21. ^ "2014 BRW Rich 200". BRW. Sydney. 26 June 2014. Retrieved 28 June 2014.
  22. ^ Rollason, Adam (30 January 2014). "Rinehart on top, Palmer down on Forbes rich list". AFR Weekend. Australia. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  23. ^ "BRW Rich 200: John Gandel". BRW. May 2015. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  24. ^ "Australia's 50 Richest: #6 John Gandel". Forbes Asia. February 2015. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  25. ^ "BRW rich list topped by Harry Triguboff, Gina Rinehart slips to fourth". ABC News. 26 May 2016. Retrieved 26 May 2016.

External links[edit]