A business-minded Chancellor
Despite his experience on the councils of Newcastle and Wollongong Universities, he preferred things at Monash to operate more like a company board. As chancellor of Monash, he saw his role as being one of guidance and improvement of efficiency. The Council became the body that oversaw university financing and building projects, while leaving the academic running of the institution to the academic board. Mr Ellis’ changes had a lasting impact on Monash, and they continued after his term as Chancellor ended.
A West Australian, he studied engineering science at the University of Western Australia and was a Rhode Scholar at Oxford. After working for ICI (now Orica) in the UK and Australia, he joined BHP in 1967. He worked his way up in the company, and was elected chairman of BHP in May 1997. After his retirement in 1999, he took up the chancellorship at Monash.
Ellis remained Chancellor of Monash until 2007. Since then, he has continued to sit on company boards and on several non-profit organisations.