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David Baxby becomes first alumni Chancellor of Bond University

A message from our new Chancellor

Australian businessman David Baxby has been elected Chancellor of Bond University, becoming the first Bond graduate to hold the role.

He is the ninth Chancellor of Australia’s first private, not-for-profit university on the Gold Coast and his appointment crowns a strong relationship with Bond that has endured for 30 years.

Mr Baxby, 50, has held multiple senior board positions during his career and is a former Partner and Executive Director at Goldman Sachs Australia, going on to work with British entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson as Co-CEO of the Virgin Group.

He attended Bond University on a half scholarship, studying a Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws.

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The newly-elected Chancellor of Bond University, David Baxby.

“It is an honour to be elected as the University’s ninth Chancellor,” Mr Baxby said.

“I am in a unique position as Bond’s first alumnus Chancellor and I intend to enlist the support of the alumni community to continue to grow the University in all aspects.”

Mr Baxby said Bond had given him life skills as well as professional expertise.

“A Bond education stands for so much more than what is taught in the classroom and this sets our graduates apart,” he said.

“Bond’s mantra of ‘students first’ is something I have experienced first-hand and, in my professional experience, I have witnessed how this approach distinguishes our graduates. 

“The University’s focus on producing well-rounded graduates who possess a wide understanding of society, the economy and our democratic way of life is very much to the fore. 

“I ran graduate recruitment at Goldman in the late ’90s and Bond's graduates consistently acquitted themselves with the best in the world.

“Innovative thinking, responsiveness to industry, and our steely determination to act in the best interests of our students - both current and future - have been our hallmark.”

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David Baxby and his mother Nanette Carroll at his graduation in 1994.

Mr Baxby brings broad experience to the role, having worked at senior levels in multinational companies. 

“I am fortunate to have worked across a range of industries around the world and this experience has provided me with insights as to the future of work,” he said.

“I trust that this experience will bring valuable insights to the University, and its strategy and planning for the future.”

Mr Baxby graduated in 1994 and worked in corporate finance for Arthur Andersen and Rothschild Australia before joining Goldman Sachs as their fourth Australian hire.

He remained with Goldman for several years before relocating to London and coming into the orbit of the Virgin entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson. He later advised the Virgin Group on the IPO and sale of a 50 percent stake in Virgin Blue before joining the holding company.

Mr Baxby held roles in Shanghai, Singapore and Geneva, and as Co-CEO of the Virgin Group with oversight of 300 companies ranging from airlines to trains and space travel.

He returned to Australia in 2017 and was appointed Managing Director – Industrials at Wesfarmers.

In 2021 he co-founded private equity company Coogee Capital which invests in businesses looking to secure the next phase of their growth.

Bond University Vice Chancellor and President, Professor Tim Brailsford, said Mr Baxby’s appointment marked a new era for the 35-year-old University as it had become sufficiently mature to recruit from within its own ranks.

“David met his wife Selina here on campus and two of their children have also recently graduated from Bond, so Bond truly runs through his family’s blood,” Professor Brailsford said.

“Despite his relative youthfulness, at least by typical Chancellor standards, David brings great experience across a range of industries having spent considerable time abroad in significant roles in both Europe and Asia.

“We are ready to embrace, trust and place faith in our very own graduates to determine the future of our proud institution.”

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Vice Chancellor, Professor Tim Brailsford and outgoing Chancellor Annabelle Bennett.

The new Chancellor contributes to a number of philanthropic causes, including as a participant in the Starlight Children’s Foundation’s Tour de Kids.

He was Chairman of Virgin Unite in the Asia Pacific region which principally focussed on youth at risk, in particular homelessness and drug dependency.  

Mr Baxby replaces the Honourable Annabelle Bennett AC SC, an international jurist and former Federal Court judge who retired from the role after serving the maximum eight-year term allowed under the University’s Constitution.

Professor Brailsford said Dr Bennett, Bond’s longest-serving Chancellor, had overseen a remarkable period of growth, change and challenge.

“Dr Bennett provided a strong sense of stability and committed leadership which was very much required during the years of great uncertainty induced by the challenges of COVID,” he said. 

“She will be sadly missed by the Bond community. As Chancellor, she was much admired by both students and staff.”

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