Dean Emeritus Robert Joss Receives Australia’s Highest Honor

In an April 15 ceremony, Stanford GSB Dean Emeritus Robert Joss, Sloan ’66, Stanford MBA ’67, PhD ’70, was honored with Australia’s equivalent of knighthood.

April 29, 2016

Dean Emeritus Robert Joss and his wife Betty.

Dean Emeritus Robert Joss, with his wife Betty, shows off the Companion of the Order insignia at the reception at Australia’s Government House in Canberra after the investiture ceremony.

Robert L. Joss, Philip H. Knight Professor and Dean Emeritus at Stanford Graduate School of Business, has received Australia’s highest national citizen honor in recognition of his service to that country’s business, financial, and academic sectors.

The Companion of the Order of Australia is presented for eminent achievement and merit of the highest degree in service to Australia.

Joss, a leader in global banking, received the honor for outstanding service to business and finance through executive roles with major banking institutions; as a contributor to taxation policy and reform; in the field of education as an academic and administrator; and for service to professional organizations and the community. His selection was announced on Australia Day, Jan. 26, 2016, with the insignia award presented at an investiture ceremony April 15 at Government House in Canberra.

“At a difficult time for the banking industry in Australia, he modernized operations and returned one of Australia’s greatest banking institutions to a position of respect and strength,” said Mark Fraser, the Official Secretary to the Governor-General who, as the Secretary of the Order of Australia, introduced him to the assembled guests at the ceremony. “Dr. Joss is a wonderful collaborator with our American partners, a person of impeccable integrity, and he’s worthy of this highest of national recognitions.”

Following the tribute, Sir Peter Cosgrove, Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, presented the insignia medal to Joss, who holds dual citizenship.

“This citation speaks a world of meaning about the relationship you built between ourselves and the United States,” he said. “In every respect you’re contributing for the relationship between these two great allies, friends and business partners, and peoples who see eye to eye. So your nation applauds you.”

Joss is a former U.S. Treasury official, and served as dean of Stanford GSB from 1999-2009. After holding a variety of posts at Wells Fargo Bank from 1971 to 1993, he served as managing director and chief executive officer of Westpac Banking Corporation, one of Australia’s largest banks. He arrived as Westpac was reeling under recession-driven commercial property losses that in 1992 resulted in a $1.56 billion loss. Joss is credited with Westpac’s successful turnaround by redirecting the bank strategically, modernizing its operations, and improving its culture. He was also a member of Australia’s Ralph Committee, providing input that led to tax reform and changes in policy. Joss continues to teach leadership and management at Stanford GSB.

Queen Elizabeth II established the current Australian system of honors and awards in 1975. Prior to that, Australians were recognized under the British honors system.

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