Mr Graham Cunningham
As the first person in his family to go to university, Mr Graham Cunningham’s student days at Monash University in the late 1960’s were particularly special. Not only did campus life satisfy all his sporting and socialising aspirations, but he also met his wife there and obtained a Bachelor of Economics. His business re-connection with Monash University over ten years ago has completed a “circle in life” that is particularly satisfying to Mr Cunningham.
After university, chartered accounting in Sydney and London was his chosen business apprenticeship. A Master of Business Administration from London Business School then opened a career in investment banking in Australia and New York. Specialising in mergers and acquisitions, Mr Cunningham negotiated major takeover deals for domestic and international companies. In the early 1990’s his investment banking and financial advisory focus turned to the tendering and negotiation of major infrastructure projects in Melbourne as the key financial adviser to the Victorian State Government. Projects included the Melbourne Museum, Crown Casino, Melbourne City Link, Southern Cross Station, Docklands Stadium and the regional fast train projects.
His investment banking career has always been augmented by senior roles with industry, cultural and sporting bodies. Mr Cunningham was Victorian President of the Financial Services Institute and sat on its National Board. He has been Deputy President of Museums Victoria and the Royal Botanic Gardens and Chaired the Royal Botanic Gardens Foundation. He was President of Yachting Victoria, on the Board of Sailing Australia and Treasurer of the Sorrento Sailing Couta Boat Club. He is a director of the Lort Smith Animal Hospital.
Since 1985 he has had a professional and close relationship with part of the Myer Family. Mr Cunningham Chairs a Myer family investment company, the Yulgilbar Group, and is a Trustee of the Yulgilbar Foundation, a significant philanthropic trust. His commitment to philanthropy now extends to the establishment of the Cunningham family philanthropic trust, the Lindisfarne Foundation, and he is a trustee of the Upotipotpon Foundation.
Since the mid 1990’s Mr Cunningham has progressively turned his financial and strategic skills to becoming a professional company director. Roles have included Chairman of Ronstan International (a marine products manufacturer); establishing and Chairing PharmX (the pharmacy industry ordering gateway) and erX (pioneered electronic prescriptions in Australia); Chairman of Cockram Constructions and a director of Copia Funds Management.
His professional directorships provided the reconnection (completing the circle) with Monash University. In 2006 Mr Cunningham was appointed a Director of Monash IVF and in 2007 when Monash University decided to sell Monash IVF, using his investment banking skills, Mr Cunningham was instrumental in the sale process, achieving sales proceeds for the University that well exceeded expectations at the time.
Subsequently Mr Cunningham was appointed as a Director of Monash College in 2009. Monash College provides transitional education for foreign students seeking to undertake a degree at Monash University. As a non-executive Director, Mr Cunningham has played a significant role in the major growth in profits and student numbers of Monash College.
Mr Cunningham and his family are based in Melbourne and outside work, he is a keen cyclist, races a Couta Boat, plays golf and reads extensively.