Emeritus Professor Jeremy Davis AM, BEc ’64
Emeritus Professor Jeremy Davis receives the Alumni Award for Professional Achievement for his far-reaching impact on Australian business and the tertiary sector as a company director, scholar and thought leader.
Jeremy has helped to secure the future of a diverse range of organisations in the private, public, non-profit and education sectors through his keen insight into business strategy and strong governance skills.
After winning the University Medal in his economics degree, he went to Stanford University, where he graduated with an MBA, coming first in his class, and a Master of Arts in Economics. He joined the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), and, after election as a vice-president, led the establishment of the firm’s west coast office. Subsequently he was appointed Managing Partner of BCG’s Paris office.
Jeremy then returned to Australia and took up an appointment as dean of the Australian Graduate School of Management at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in 1980. The role saw him champion research, foster excellence in teaching and learning, and bridge the gap between ‘town and gown’ by reaching out to business leaders. He became a long-serving member of the UNSW Council and was elected president of the UNSW Academic Board, where he was a force for innovation. Jeremy was made an emeritus professor at UNSW in 2006.
In addition to his higher education achievements, Jeremy has had a highly successful career as a company director. Since 2006, he has played a critical role in developing the growth strategy of Singapore Power – one of the world’s largest electric utilities – as a director. He is also a director of SP AusNet Group and CHAMP Ventures Ltd, as well as chairman of the Very Small Particle Company (VSPC) and AMWIN Management Pty Ltd.
Meanwhile, in the professional sphere, Jeremy has been a director of the Australian Institute of Management NSW and ACT and recently helped to guide its creation of a new initiative for evidence-based leadership development – the Octant Foundation. He has served as president of the Strategic Management Society, overseeing its revitalisation.
Jeremy has also been an inspiring mentor to young academics and managers, giving generously of his time and wisdom to support many of them at critical turning points in their careers. “If you do not ensure your skills and abilities are passed on and embedded, you leave an institution weaker when you move on,” he says. “I believe most skills are learned, not innate. Developing these in the next generation is a challenge, but can be immensely satisfying when you see someone take flight elegantly. It only works if you can practise low-key master-apprentice style learning.”
In 2008, Jeremy was recognised for his long-standing service to tertiary education and commerce with the award of a Member of the Order of Australia.