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Over the past two weeks I have highlighted the nominations (16 individuals) of those who were voted by my invited peer panel as the most influential people in the Australian recruitment industry over the past 60 years.

Here’s some background that you may not know about each person (eight of the list are profiled this week and the remaining eight will be profiled next week).

Andrew Banks (born 1951): Came to Australia as a ’10 pound Pom’ in the early 1970s and his first job (in Sydney) was as a sales assistant with fashion retailer John and Merivale. Having done a lot of acting back in his native England, Andrew landed a bit part in Number 96, a very popular TV soapie at the time. His first entrepreneurial venture was a part share in a Sydney restaurant.

Andrew Bassat (born 1966): In the 2015 BRW Rich List he was ranked at 195 with an estimated wealth of $296 million, down from $465 million in 2014.

Paul Bassat (born 1968): Prior to co-founding Seek with his brother Andrew and friend Matthew Rockman, Paul was a solicitor for nearly 7 years with mid-tier Melbourne firm; Arnold Bloch Leibler. Paul has been an AFL Commissioner since 2011.

Robert Blanche (born 1950): Robert co-founded the Bayside Group of Companies in 1976, after having previously worked in the engineering offices of Johns and Waygood for nearly nine years. Robert has been a committee member of the Cranbourne Harness Racing Club since 1995. Robert currently owns and races both trotters and gallopers.

Geoff Morgan (born 1948): After leaving high school Geoff studied wool classing and went to New Zealand to work in the shearing sheds. Back in Australia he worked his way up through the shearing hierarchy to become Secretary of the NSW branch of the Wool Classers Association. Geoff subsequently had a stint in the shipping industry as well as being a part-owner in a restaurant in the same area (at the same time) as Andrew Banks was also a restaurant owner.

John Plummer (Senior) (born 1928): After training as an auditor John paid $50,000 in 1960 for his client’s recruitment agency, Centacom, when the original owner decided to return to England. John sold Centacom for $15 million in the late 1980s to the (subsequently merged) company that is now known as Adecco.

Geoff Slade FRCSA (born 1945): Geoff grew up in Bittern on the Western Port side of the Mornington Peninsula. As a promising footballer, he was recruited by Melbourne Football Club at the age of 16 and played with the club from 1962 until 1965, at a time when Melbourne was one of the strongest clubs in the competition (they won their most recent senior premiership in 1964). Subsequently, Geoff was captain/coach of East Ballarat and then played in the VFA with Frankston Dolphins for seven years. In 1968, Geoff was selected in an invitation Australian football squad ‘The Galahs‘ that toured Ireland, the UK and the USA, undefeated, playing a slightly modified version of Gaelic football against various Gaelic football teams.

Julia Ross (born 1955): Julia was born and raised in Staffordshire, south of Manchester (UK), the youngest of eight children. After finishing school she joined a big construction company, Taylor Woodrow, starting as a clerk. At just 21, she became the youngest ever chief executive of a Taylor Woodrow subsidiary and a finalist in the British Businesswoman of the Year awards. She switched to the recruitment industry in 1982, aged 29, hired by Alfred Marks to manage its 15 Thames Valley branches and, subsequently head of Asia Pacific operations, based in Sydney until she quit in 1988.


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