Mr Leonard Davis AO




Leon Davis has had a distinguished career in the Australian and international business world.

Mr Davis graduated in Primary Metallurgy from the South Australian Institute of Technology after joining the CRA Group in 1956 as a metallurgical cadet with the Broken Hill Associated Smelters, in Port Pirie, South Australia.

He held various senior management positions within the Group before being appointed in 1984 as Managing Director of Pacific Coal, and holding positions with Bougainville Copper Mining in Papua New Guinea and Conzinc Asia in Singapore. During this time, he was a member of the Australian Coal Marketing and Technology Council, Chairman of the Promotions Committee of the World Coal Institute, and an Australian representative on the Coal Industry Advisory Board of the International Energy Agency of the OECD.

In 1989, Mr Davis became Group Executive of CRA Ltd and his appointments included Chairman of Argyle Diamond Mines, Dampier Salt, Wimmera Industrial Minerals and Kalimantan Gold. He was also a Director of CRA Services Ltd and Kelian Gold, Indonesia.

Two years later, he joined The RTZ Corporation Plc as mining director. In 1994 he became Chief Executive of CRA Ltd in Melbourne. Following the 1995 dual listed companies merger of The RTZ Corporation Plc and CRA Ltd (which later became Rio Tinto Ltd and Rio Tinto Plc), he was appointed Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Operating Officer. His guidance produced greater efficiencies, improved transfer of best practice and improved transparency in the operations.

Mr Davis became Chief Executive of Rio Tinto Ltd and Rio Tinto Plc in January 1997. He retired from this position in 2000 and now serves as Deputy Chairman.  He is also the Chairman of the Westpac Banking Corporation, an appointment he took up in 2000 after serving as Director for one year.

A graduate of the Senior Managers Program of Harvard University in Vevey, Switzerland, Mr Davis is also a Fellow of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy and the Royal Australian Chemical Institute.

In addition, he is the President of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, and a Trustee of the Westpac Foundation and recently the Rio Tinto Aboriginal Foundation.

Chancellor, in recognition of his distinguished career and contribution to the Australian and international business community, I present to you Leon Davis, for conferral of the award of Doctor of Science honoris causa to which he has been admitted by the Senate of the University.


Doctor of Science honoris causa