Ken MacKenzie appointed Chair of Melbourne Business School
Having led two of Australia's most successful global businesses, Ken MacKenzie wants to empower the next generation of leaders.
Few people get to experience the heights of business that Ken MacKenzie has.
After beginning as an engineer and strategy consultant, Mr MacKenzie worked his way up the ranks of global packaging company Amcor before being appointed to the top job in 2005.
Over the next 10 years, he earned a reputation as one of Australia's most talented CEOs, increasing the company's share price by 150 per cent and doubling net profit, while also achieving the best employee safety results on record.
Mr MacKenzie then shifted his focus to the boardroom, becoming Chair of BHP Group in 2017. Under his watch, the resources giant has taken action on social issues including gender equity and climate change at the same time as growing into Australia's biggest company by market capitalisation.
"Having a social licence to operate is essential for businesses who want to be successful over the long term," he said.
Mr MacKenzie will now use his experience to help the next generation of leaders face the challenges of contemporary business as the new Chair of Melbourne Business School.
"Melbourne Business School is unique in that it is jointly owned by the business community and the University of Melbourne, which puts it in the perfect position to help Australian organisations as they evolve to meet new challenges and opportunities," Mr MacKenzie said.
"Having a deep connection with business as well as being part of Australia's top university means Melbourne Business School can apply evidence-based approaches to the issues that keep senior executives up at night."
Mr MacKenzie said the School was already helping some of the biggest organisations in Australia and Southeast Asia face challenges like sustainability, climate change and data analytics through the work of its centres, including the Centre for Sustainability and Business, Centre for Business Analytics and the Dilin Duwa Centre for Indigenous Business Leadership, as well as the new Institute for the Future of Business.
New thinking to solve major challenges
Mr MacKenzie joined the Board of Melbourne Business School earlier this year along with several new Directors representing some of Australia's most talented business leaders.
They include Rebecca McGrath, a Non-Executive Director of Macquarie Group and President of the Victorian Council of the Australian Institute of Company Directors; Janelle Hopkins, Chief Financial Officer of REA Group and former Group CFO of Australia Post; and Brooke Miller, President Asia Pacific at Lineage Logistics and a State Director at agricultural systems biology research centre AgriBio.
His appointment also comes after the announcement that former Converge International CEO Dr Jenny George will become the next Dean of Melbourne Business School next month.
Dr George first joined Melbourne Business School as a Senior Lecturer after completing a PhD in Operations and Information Technology at Stanford University. She became a prominent member of faculty, before putting theory into practice as the CEO of Converge and leading it through a period of tremendous growth and success.
Mr MacKenzie said Dr George's return to the School would help to deepen its connection with industry even further.
"Dr George is extremely accomplished both as an educator and a business leader, who has put what we teach in the classroom into practice with extraordinary results," he said.
"Having firsthand experience of the challenges and opportunities facing business today, Dr George is the perfect person to help Melbourne Business School bridge the gap between business education, research and practice."
Mr MacKenzie also paid tribute to outgoing Chair Ross Barker, who steps down from the role this month after more than a decade of service to the School.
"Mr Barker is leaving Melbourne Business School in a tremendous position for success," he said.
"His support for new membership on the Board and the appointment of Dr Jenny George as Dean have brought fresh ideas and ways of thinking to the School that will be tremendously valuable for the future. I am honoured to succeed Mr Barker in this important role."