Class of 1975
Geoff was the son of one of Perth’s most famous architects. He travelled from Mosman Park to Salter Point on three buses every day to get to Aquinas.
By his own admission not a huge scholar, Geoff found he excelled at Maths and Music. He was also in the cadets, the Radio Club and played Rugby in the 1st XV. Geoff felt a sense of belonging at Aquinas. He found his marks improved and it was a very happy time.
After leaving he went to Curtin where he graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree, Business Administration and Management and then studied at the University of NSW for a post-graduate management qualification.
While at Curtin he experimented, setting up a wind surfing franchise and a sail making business. He became Captain of the local yacht club; then segued into nightclubs, learning a great deal about general management along the way. In growing his entrepreneurial skillset Geoff probably did not realise how relevant this experience was to become.
He was hired by international construction and property company Lendlease with a brief to find opportunities for growth. Geoff was assigned Development Manager on Sydney’s Darling Park project and then with the re-zoning of Pyrmont Peninsula into a multi-use zone. Having made a success of both he was asked to breathe life into MLC, one of their financial services companies, which was subsequently sold to NAB. He was poached to become the CEO of Suncorp Life.
When someone with ability sees a financial institution through a crisis like the “GFC” they just keep climbing. In spite of his plan at the time to take time off he was hired onto the Board of APRA, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority. In this role he has behaved like a true Aquinian and found a way to change the world for the better.
Geoff has been the first Australian regulator to make a public comment on the financial risks of climate change and has confronted the world with the cost of ignoring it. It is his intention to move the debate away from ethics and towards finance.
His legacy will be a fresher, more forward looking APRA, and one that makes the organisation successful for the next 20 years. But looking back he attributes a great deal of what he has achieved to his start at Aquinas College. It instilled in him a sense of purpose and knowing right from wrong: “a sense of identity about who I was and what I had to contribute.”