James Strong AO
1944 - 2013
It is with great sadness that we mourn the passing of James Strong in Sydney on 3rd March, 2013. James was a part of Saxton since 1989: a wonderful speaker, a mentor, and a champion of the company. He went on to become our Chairman in 2009. His leadership, support and guidance have been invaluable.
James was an ornament to public speaking - he was at once powerful yet intensely personal. He was passionate about people and human potential.
Following a Qantas A380 Airbus low flyover, a public memorial was held at Sydney's City Recital Hall, featuring tributes from David Gonski, Alan Joyce, John Forsyth, Grant O'Brien and his son Sam Strong, touching performances by Philippe Jaroussky, the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra and Bernadette Robinson, and hosted movingly by long-time friend Richard Morecroft.
James leaves the world a richer place and the myriad people he, in some way, touched throughout his life, personally richer for having known him. We mourn the loss of a beautiful person and a precious friend.
Our thoughts are with his family - his brothers Phillip and David, his sons Nick and Sam, daughter in law Katherine and his beloved wife Jeanne-Claude.
- Nanette, Winston, John and the team at Saxton
More on James Strong
James Strong was the Chairman of Kathmandu Holdings Limited, a Director of Qantas Airways, and a member of the Nomura Australia Limited Advisory Board.
A passionate supporter of the arts, his Arts associations included chairing the Australia Council for the Arts (the primary arts funding and policy body of the Australian Government), the Sydney Theatre Company, the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, Australian Business Arts Foundation, the State Library of Victoria and serving as a director of Opera Australia. He also chaired a review of all Australian symphony and pit orchestras for the Australian Government.
A keen sportsman in his own right, from mountain climbing including scaling the highest mountain in Antarctica (Mt Vinson), to scuba diving and riding motorcycles, he was also Chairman of the Local Organising Committee for the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup, to be hosted by Australia and New Zealand, Chairman of the V8 Supercars Championship and a Director of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation which conducts the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Melbourne and the World Motorcycle Championship in Phillip Island.
James' business career has spanned Industrial relations, law, mining, political lobbying, aviation, the liquor industry, retailing and insurance. Some of his higher profile roles were as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Woolworths from 2000 to 2012; and CEO of Qantas from 1993 to 2001. He is also a former Chairman of IATA, the International Air Transport Association and a former Chairman of Insurance Australia Group.
He was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 2006 for his services to business and commerce, particularly in the aviation, insurance and retail fields, and to the arts as an administrator and philanthropist. He holds an Honorary Doctorate from Griffith University, is an Adjunct Professor of the University of Queensland, and has been Admitted as a Solicitor and/or Barrister in various jurisdictions in Australia.
His achievements have been recognised on many occasions and include being awarded the Australian Centenary Medal for contributions to aviation and the arts, the Sir Charles McGrath Award for Excellence in Marketing, the Monash University and Mount Eliza Alumni Award for Leadership and the Smithsonian Institute’s Laureate Hall of Fame Award for Commercial Air Transport.
James Strong had a wealth of business experience and success to his credit. His special areas of interest were strategy, communications, organisational change and people. An articulate and focused speaker, James Strong delivered straightforward, invaluable lessons for senior management.
- James' presentation was excellent. He spoke openly and kept our audience engaged throughout his address and question and answer session.
Queensland University of Technology
- He provided down to earth advice gleaned from a lifetime of successful business activity.
- Inspirational! What a CEO! Dynamic - he should be cloned and distributed to other organisations.
National Public Sector Accountants Conference
- He was wonderful. The standing ovations said it all!
Waldron Smith Convention Network, The Gold Coast
- James Strong has a very unassuming and down to earth natural ability to lead, achieve and inspire. He was able to communicate very effectively to our senior management group from rural locations all over Australia and New Zealand some very simple and successfully proven messages. Our managers will not only be able to communicate these to their teams, but the messages will be an influence in their future lives. Exceptional.
Rabobank/PIBA Best Practice Conference 2002, WA
- An excellent, well prepared speaker. Well received by delegates and a pleasure to have on our programme. His appearance, presentation and message add credibility.
- Your talk was the highlight of our conference and helped focus our senior managers on the need for change.
James Hardie Building Boards, Sydney
- On behalf of all members of the firm, I convey our appreciation for the sincere interest you showed in our cause and for a most practical, captivating and encouraging address. I believe your contribution will prove invaluable to the growth and success of our firm.
Greenwood Challoner Services, Sydney
- James has a natural style. He spoke from the heart with personal stories that created impact in the audience.
ASI, New York
- I am delighted to tell you that James' was the highest ranked presentation by the participants. They were most impressed by his common sense and practical advice given by a successful and practising CEO.
Premiers Department, Sydney
- The general consensus of the seminar participants was that James' presentation was excellent and that the message to management was totally practical in its simplicity. Everyone could take something away with them and implement it the next day.
Esanda Finance Corporation Ltd, Melbourne
- James literally captivated the audience. He was, and continues to be the talking point at NZI.
NZI Insurance, Sydney
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