Dr Donald (Don) Argus AO

1 December 2008

Award of a Doctor of Business honoris causa


Mr Donald Argus, AO, has been chair of BHP Billiton, the world’s largest diversified resource company, since 1999. At that time, the company’s market capitalisation was $17.28 billion. Today, it has a combined market capitalisation of $131 billion.

As former CEO and Managing Director of the National Australia Bank between 1990 and 1999, Mr Argus oversaw the growth of the organisation into Australia’s largest bank, while modestly referring to himself as “head teller”.

In that period its market capitalisation grew from $5.5 billion to a peak of $37 billion. Mr Argus retired as chair of Brambles Industries in January 2008 and apart from BHP Billiton he has been a Director of Australian Foundation Investment Company Limited since 1999.

Mr Argus has also been a member of the International Advisory Council of Allianz Aktiengesellschaft since 2000 and a member of the International Advisory Committee to the New York Stock Exchange Board of Directors since 2005.

Mr Argus has twice been voted the nation’s most admired businessman.
He was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 1998 in recognition of his services to banking and finance and contributions to the community. In April 2003, he was awarded the Centenary Medal for service to Australian society through business.

Mr Argus began his career in the mailroom of the NAB and did not complete his tertiary studies until he was 40, hence his constant advice to business students to “stick with the fundamentals” such as auditing.

He is a champion of deregulation and globalisation and believes that the Australian banking sector is a global pacesetter in enterprise and good management. Well known for his support and sponsorship of sports and community activities, he is a co-patron of Vision Australia Foundation.

Chancellor, in recognition of his distinguished career, I present to you Mr Donald Argus, AO for the award of a Doctor of Business honoris causa bestowed by the Senate of The University of Queensland.



Doctor of Business honoris causa