Australian Entrepreneur of the Year -Profile
12 December 2001 at 12:12 pm
Australian entrepreneurs are not only gaining recognition for their talented business acumen these days but also for their community involvement.
The Inaugural Australian Entrepreneur of the Year Award has been bestowed on Dr. Peter Farrell, the President and Chief Executive of the ResMed group of companies.
Awards organiser Ernst & Young says Peter Farrell has demonstrated extraordinary drive, vision and commitment in building his business on an international scale. His strong business acumen has been recognised by an unswerving commitment to the wellbeing of his staff and to supporting charitable activities.
Ernst & Young CEO Brian Schwartz says the inaugural awards have recognised a number of individuals whose hard work and commitment has contributed to the prosperity of Australia as a whole.
Dr. Peter Farrell was already a successful academic when in 1989 he obtained finance to form the company ResCare Ltd, to turn an improvised laboratory observation device for sleep apnoea into a commercially saleable product. As ResMed, the company has experienced significant growth over the part 12 months, with current revenues of $250 million, earnings of $50 million and a workforce of over 1000.
So what about his support for charitable activities? Dr. Farrell told Pro Bono Australia from his US office in San Diego that his philanthropy is really about personal giving to a variety of charities and organisations that interest him.
He says the reason he gives is that as Andrew Carnegie once said, “A man who dies rich is a man who dies disgraced”.
Dr. Farrell says he believes that absolutely and also believes that it is an obligation to give.
He says he strongly believes in giving with accountability; not just giving money because of need, but giving money because it gets results.
For example, he says, he recently committed to give $US1 million to Harvard with another million to follow, provided they undertake some specific commitments. The money given over a five-year period comes with ‘hooks’ attached!
In terms of Australian dollars, Dr. Peter Farrell says he has given well over $4 million to a great range of charities and organisations including horses for handicapped kids, the University of NSW, Prince of Wales Hospital and Not for Profit think tanks.
He is also planning to set up a family Foundation with his children on the Board so as he puts it, that they can give away their inheritance to good causes!
Dr. Farrell will represent Australia at the World Entrepreneur Awards in Monte Carlo in 2002.