Nicholas Whitlam

Non-Executive Deputy Chair

Nicholas Whitlam is a company director and former banker.

As a former CEO and chairman of leading Australian financial institutions, Nicholas Whitlam has extensive experience in banking, insurance, superannuation and asset management. Apart from private interests, he is involved in establishing the China-related Generations Fund and is a non-executive director of Crescent Wealth.

Whitlam joined Morgan Guaranty Trust Co (now JP Morgan) in 1969, working at headquarters in New York and then London and rising to Vice President.  In 1976 and 1977 he worked with American Express in Sydney and Hong Kong.  He was then with Banque de Paris et des Pays-bas (“Paribas”) in Hong Kong from 1978-80. In 1980 he became an executive Commissioner of the Rural Bank of New South Wales before its reconstitution as the State Bank of New South Wales; he was appointed Managing Director and CEO of the new State Bank and led it from 1981 to 1987. In 1984, he chaired the “Whitlam Committee”, which recommended the establishment of offshore banking in Australia.

In 1987, with Malcolm Turnbull, he established the investment bank, Whitlam Turnbull.  Since 1990 he has provided consulting services and held his private interests via Whitlam & Co.

Whitlam was President of the National Roads and Motorists’ Association, Australia’s largest mutual organisation, from 1996 to 2002.  He chaired NRMA Insurance, Australia’s largest general insurance company, from 1996 to 2001. While at NRMA Insurance he led the process by which that company was demutualised and listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (as Insurance Australia Group or IAG). 

In recent years Whitlam has been heavily involved in two disparate sectors-

  • ports and logistics, where he served as chairman of the new Port Authority of New South Wales from its inauguration in 2014 to mid-2018; earlier, from 2004, first in Port Kembla and then in Sydney and Newcastle, he chaired all three ports - Sydney, Newcastle and Port Kembla - before their amalgamation as the new port authority;


  • the disability and compensation sector, where he has served as chairman of the Lifetime Care & Support Authority and deputy chairman of the WorkCover Fund and WorkCover NSW.  

Earlier public sector roles include serving as a director of the Australian Trade Commission and the Export Finance & Insurance Corporation.

Whitlam represented New South Wales and Harvard in swimming.  For the 2000 Olympics, he was a member of the Sydney Olympic Games Review Committee (which recommended the bid). He subsequently served as a member of the Sydney Olympic Games Bid Committee; at the Olympics, he served as Attaché for Hong Kong.  He is a former Chairman of Tattersall’s Club, Sydney and was an inaugural director of the Australian Sports Foundation.  

He chaired the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in the 1990s, and he chaired the Australian Graduate School of Management and the Whitlam Institute for many years.

Whitlam holds degrees from Harvard University (AB cum laude, 1967) and the University of London (MSc, 1969). He has been awarded honorary doctorates by The University of New South Wales (Hon.DUniv, 1996) and Western Sydney University (Hon.DLitt, 2016).  Publications include his new book Paris 1924, Four Weeks One Summer and a memoir, Still Standing.   He was born in Sydney and attended Sydney High School.  Whitlam is married to Judy (née Frye); they now live in the Sydney suburb of Woollahra and have three adult children and two grandchildren.