April 30 2021

CEO Update April 2021

By Craig Connelly

After a strange and unsettling year, I am pleased to share some exciting news. I am delighted to announce that in August 2020, The Ian Potter Foundation was the beneficiary of a significant bequest from the estate of the late Margaret Caroline Reid.  A high-quality share portfolio with a significant balance of accumulated franking credits will ultimately be worth more than $26 million to the Foundation.  The bequest will be known as the Kingston bequest. 

The Kingston bequest is the single largest bequest received by the Foundation since Sir Ian’s own contribution, both during his lifetime and then from Sir Ian’s estate in 1994.  In acknowledging such a significant bequest, it seems appropriate to share with you a little about Margaret Reid – generous benefactor and philanthropist. 

Margaret Reid was a philanthropist during her lifetime, establishing scholarships at schools she attended.  Margaret was also passionate about preserving Australia’s environment for future generations.  Throughout her life, Margaret managed her personal wealth with great care and was privately very proud that she was able to leave a substantial legacy to charity. 

In line with Margaret’s lifelong interest in the environment and at the request of the co-executors of Margaret’s estate, the first significant contribution funded by the Kingston bequest is $5 million over 10 years to support the establishment of the new freshwater policy centre (Water Centre).  The Kingston bequest was the pivotal commitment that led major funders of the Water Centre to proceed with the Water Centre’s establishment, taking committed funds for that Centre to in excess of $32 million over ten years. 

Margaret Reid’s generosity will ensure that her Kingston bequest will generate more than $1 million each year supporting Australian charities through the Foundation’s grantmaking.  Of course, that contribution will continue to grow over time.  Please read this more detailed biography of Margaret Caroline Reid

New Board Members 

In equally exciting news, I am pleased to announce that four new members will join the Foundation’s Board of Governors this year.  Sir Edward Byrne AC, Mr Craig Drummond, Professor Emma Johnston AO and Professor Karen Day AM have all agreed to join the Board of The Ian Potter Foundation. 

World-leading neuroscientist Sir Edward Byrne AC attended his first Board meeting in April 2021.  Sir Edward previously held the position of President and Vice-Chancellor of Monash University and was most recently President and Principal at King’s College London. 

Sir Edward began his career in Adelaide, specialising in neurology.  In 1983, he was appointed Director of Neurology at St Vincent's Hospital and Professor of Clinical Neurology at the University of Melbourne in 1992, founding director of the Melbourne Neuromuscular Research Unit and the Centre for Neuroscience in 1993, and Professor of Experimental Neurology at the University of Melbourne in 2001.  Sir Edward also has wide interests in the arts and has written several books of poetry.  He is a fellow of the Australian Academy of Technology, Science and Engineering and an honorary fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences. 

Sir Edward will join the Foundation’s Health Committee and its Vibrant (Arts) Committee. 

Mr Craig Drummond will end his tenure as CEO of Medibank Private on 30 June 2021 and has agreed to join the Board of The Ian Potter Foundation effective 1 July 2021.  In addition to his role at Medibank Private, Mr Drummond has over 30 years of experience in the financial sector, serving in roles including Group Executive Finance and Strategy at National Australia Bank, Chief Executive Officer and Country Head at Bank of America Merrill Lynch and CEO of Goldman Sachs JB Were.  Mr Drummond was previously a Director of The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health and was recently appointed President of The Geelong Football Club.  He has served as an externally appointed member of the Foundation's Finance Committee since 2014. 

Mr Drummond will Chair the Foundation’s Audit & Risk Committee and will also continue as a member of the Finance Committee and join the Community Wellbeing Committee. 

Professor Emma Johnston AO and Professor Karen Day AM will both join the Board in September 2021.   

Professor Johnston is currently Dean of Science and Professor of Marine Ecology and Ecotoxicology at UNSW Sydney.  A highly awarded scientist, educator and communicator, Professor Johnston was previously Pro Vice-Chancellor Research at UNSW and Director of the Sydney Harbour Research Program for the Sydney Institute of Marine Science. 

An elected fellow of the Australian Technological Society (ATSE), her awards include the Australian Academy of Science’s inaugural Nancy Millis Medal, the Royal Society of New South Wales Clark Medal, and the Eureka Prize for Science Communication.  Professor Johnston is a national advocate for the Science and Technology sector, Co-Chief Author of the Australian Government’s State of Environment Report, and a Director on the Board of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. 

Professor Johnston will Chair the Foundation’s Sustainable Committee and will join the Early Childhood Development Committee. 

Professor Karen Day is an infectious disease epidemiologist dedicated to improving global public health and is a founder of the scientific discipline of malaria genomic epidemiology, raising over $US20 million for her own research.  Most recently she has been the Dean of Science at the University of Melbourne and continues her malaria epidemiology research at the University. 

An experienced educator and academic administrator in medicine and science, Professor Day has held senior leadership posts in universities in the UK, US and Australia.  She is an Emeritus Fellow of Hertford College, having been one of the first women science “dons” at that College. 

Professor Day will join the Foundation’s Healthy Committee and Sustainable Committee and will join the Committee overseeing The George Alexander Foundation. 

In such challenging times, in which we are all being affected in a myriad of ways, the above two significant developments remind me of the importance of personal philanthropy, generosity and the preparedness of so many to invest their time and energy to assist others. 

I am so pleased to welcome our new Board members, each of whom I know will contribute to the Foundation’s efforts to continue to impact positively on the lives of many Australians.