Not many companies can say they had a Prime Minister serve on theirBoard, let alone one of the best-known and longest-serving.
Sir Robert Gordon Menzies, Australia’s longest-serving Prime Minister, held office from 1939 to 1941 and again from 1949 to 1966 – a total of 18 years. Like Sir Ninian Stephens, his esteemed position in Government was preceded by a distinguished career as one of Australia’s leading constitutional lawyers. He entered Victorian Parliament in 1928 then won a seat in the Federal Parliament in 1934, where he served as Attorney-General and Minister for Industry in the United Australia Party Government. During this time – between 1936 and 1939 – he also served as Director of Equity Trustees.
By the time the Second World War broke out in 1939, Menzies was Prime Minister of Australia. He stepped down two years later, following a vote of no-confidence among members of his Cabinet and party, but his subsequent time on the Opposition backbench was well-spent building the Liberal Party we know today. He became Opposition Leader in 1946 and at the 1949 Federal election, defeated Labor’s Ben Chifley to become Australia’s Prime Minister once again.
His second tenure as Prime Minister would last for 17 consecutive years, thanks to his focus on home, family and the growing middle class. He also strengthened Australia’s defence alliance with the United States which continues to this day.
Knighted in 1963, Menzies retired as Prime Minister and from Parliament three years later. He passed away on 15 May 1978.