Victoria University installed Mr George Pappas as its fourth Chancellor on Thursday 13 May at a ceremony at Flemington Racecourse.
Professor David de Kretser, AC, Governor of Victoria, presided over the ceremony in his role as University Visitor.
Mr Pappas took up his new role on 1 January 2010 following the retirement of the Hon Justice Frank Vincent AO, QC who was VU Chancellor for more than eight years.
He is the fourth Chancellor since VU’s inception in 1990, succeeding Creighton Burns (1990-1994); Peter Laver (1995-2000); and Frank Vincent (2001-2009).
Mr Pappas took up this pivotal leadership role following a distinguished career in business and the public sector. His personal strengths and outstanding professional skills have equipped him to lead Victoria University – a unique, complex and diverse institution – with distinction. Mr Pappas is also well placed to build on Victoria University’s commitment to equity and excellence, locally and internationally.
Mr Pappas was born in Rhodes, Greece and came to Australia at the age of six. As an immigrant he has something in common with many VU students – he was the first in his family to graduate with a degree. He has a Bachelor of Economics with First Class Honours from Monash University (1968) and an MBA, with Distinction, from Harvard Business School (1971).
Mr Pappas not only understands the business of education – his life experience makes him acutely aware of the value of education. He believes that the investment his parents and teachers made in his own education is the most important gift he has received.
This investment in Mr Pappas’ education returned a high dividend. After graduating from Harvard Business School, he joined the international management consulting firm, the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in Boston, later moving to Tokyo. He returned to Australia and co-founded Pappas Carter Evans and Koop (PCEK) in 1979. Over the next ten years, PCEK became the leading Australian management consultancy, providing strategic advice to the top management of the country’s largest companies.
Following BCG’s acquisition of PCEK in 1990, Mr Pappas became Managing Partner of BCG’s Australasian offices and a member of BCG’s worldwide Executive Committee. He occupied several international leadership roles for his firm before returning to Australia in 2002. He remains a Senior Advisor to BCG.
From 2003 to 2005, Mr Pappas was engaged as Under Secretary in the Department of Premier and Cabinet for the State of Victoria, leading a project to develop the State’s economic strategy.
In recognition of his outstanding leadership skills, Mr Pappas was appointed Chairman of the Committee for Melbourne in 2005, an organisation dedicated to working with Melbourne’s leaders to ensure the city retains its place as one of the world’s most liveable and prosperous communities. In this role he leads a group whose members are drawn from the city’s most influential companies and institutions. Mr Pappas has led the Committee’s efforts to support the development of new and innovative industries, as well as the promotion of Melbourne’s Higher Education sector.
In April 2008, Mr Pappas participated in the Prime Minister’s 2020 Summit. He subsequently led a six month audit of the Federal Defence Budget, identifying $20 billion of savings to be realised over the following decade. He chairs the Defence Strategic Reform Advisory Board (DSRAB), which was established to oversee the implementation of the reform program to achieve these savings.
Mr Pappas is also Chairman of Energy Matters Pty Ltd, where he leads and mentors a group of young entrepreneurs who are building one of Australia’s leading suppliers and installers of solar energy systems, solar hot waters services and other domestic and commercial clean energy products.
Mr Pappas also has strong links with the west of Melbourne as a passionate supporter of the Western Bulldogs, a partner of Victoria University. He has been a Director of the Bulldogs since 2000.
Mr Pappas’ life experience, business acumen and leadership skills have enabled him to act as a role model to the University’s students and staff. His passion for education and his commitment to lead in a way that is inclusive and empowering to others will undoubtedly see him become a focal point for Victoria University, helping to build on its values and standing in the wider community.