Simon McKeon

Simon Vincent McKeon AO (born 19 December 1955) is an Australian lawyer, businessman, and administrator. He has been chancellor of Monash University, and non-executive director of Rio Tinto, Spotless Group, and National Australia Bank. He is retained by Macquarie Bank Melbourne as a consultant and is a fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. On 25 January 2011 he was named the 2011 Australian of the Year.[1]

Simon McKeon

McKeon in 2011
Born (1955-12-19) 19 December 1955
Dandenong, Victoria, Australia
EducationB Com, LL B
Alma materUniversity of Melbourne
Occupation(s)Lawyer, philanthropist, sportsman
Years active1979–present
Organization(s)Chairman, CSIRO (2010–2015)
Chancellor, Monash University (2016–present)
Spouse(s)Amanda Breidahl (1979–2011)
Heather Forbes (2011–present)
ChildrenFour sons


After completing a Bachelor of Commerce in 1976 and Bachelor of Laws in 1978, both at the University of Melbourne, Simon McKeon practised law in Sydney with Blake Dawson Waldron before taking up a post with the Macquarie Bank, where he became the Executive Chairman (Melbourne Office).[2] He was Founding President of the statutory dispute resolution body for Australian public company takeovers, the Australian Takeovers Panel from 1999– 2010. He was also the Chairman of software specialist MYOB LTD 2006–2009.[3] McKeon was chairman of CSIRO from June 2010 until 2015, replacing Dr John Stocker.[3] McKeon was appointed to the AMP Limited Board on 27 March 2013 and subsequently appointed Chairman of AMP on 8 May 2014, replacing Peter Mason. On 26 April 2016 he announced his intention to resign from the AMP board at the conclusion of the AGM in May.[4] McKeon is a fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and is a member of the AICD Chairman's Forum and is the inaugural President of the Australian banking industry's Review Panel for the Banking and Financing oath. He volunteered as a counsellor for heroin addicts at the First Step Clinic in St Kilda.[5]

Destruction of Juukan Gorge sacred site

McKeon was one of the Directors of Rio Tinto in May 2020 when the mining company deliberately destroyed the Australian Aboriginal sacred site at Juukan Gorge - the only inland site in Australia to show signs of continuous human occupation for over 46,000 years.

Following his role in the controversy and its aftermath, McKeon was promoted from Independent Director to Senior Independent Director, with an accompanying $80,000 pay rise.[6]


In October 2015, it was announced that McKeon would succeed Dr Alan Finkel as Chancellor of Monash University in January 2016.[7] He has been a part-time lecturer with Melbourne University's Masters of Applied Finance and Masters of Laws courses and has been a member of the Advisory Board of the University's Centre for Energy and Resources Law. He served on the Campaign Board of the University of Melbourne from 2013 until 2015.

In October 2015, McKeon was conferred an honorary Doctorate of Public Health by La Trobe University.


On 25 January 2011, McKeon was named the 2011 Australian of the Year.

On 11 June 2012, McKeon was named an Officer of the Order of Australia for "distinguished service to business and commerce through leadership and advisory roles, and to the community as a supporter of national and international charitable, educational and sporting organisations."[8]

In 2014, McKeon, along with Harry Messel, was awarded the Australian Academy of Science's Academy Medal, which recognises scientific contributions other than research.[9]


  1. Oakes, Dan (25 January 2011). "Simon McKeon named 2011 Australian of the Year". Retrieved 25 January 2011.
  2. "Simon McKeon named Australian of the Year". ABC. 25 January 2011.
  3. Atkins, William (21 June 2010). "Simon McKeon becomes CSIRO head". Retrieved 25 January 2011.
  4. "AMP Chairman Simon McKeon to retire" (PDF). Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  5. The Age 5 December 2004
  6. Chenoweth, Neil (17 December 2020). "Monash performs the human pretzel". Australian Financial Review. Retrieved 17 January 2021.
  7. McGinn, Christine (17 October 2015). "Simon McKeon takes top job at Monash University". Waverley Leader. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  8. "Officer (AO) in the General Division of the Order of Australia – The Queen's Birthday 2012 Honours Lists" (PDF). Official Secretary to the Governor-General of Australia. 11 June 2012. p. 27. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 June 2012.
  9. "Awardees for 2014 – Australian Academy of Science". Australian Academy of Science. Archived from the original on 9 July 2015. Retrieved 8 July 2015.
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