Out of the classroom and onto the world stage:
McMillan Shakespeare founder named 2012 Australian Entrepreneur Of The Year

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Friday 30 November 2012 - Anthony Podesta, founder and Non Executive Director of McMillan Shakespeare, a market leader in outsourced remuneration and asset management services, has been named the 2012 Australian EY Entrepreneur Of The Year®.

Mr Podesta won the prestigious title ahead of 27 other national finalists at a gala awards dinner held in Sydney last night.

Melbourne-based Podesta started out as a school teacher, before identifying a market opportunity to provide outsourced salary packaging services. His belief in the potential of the business led Podesta to mortgage the family home to kick-start McMillan Shakespeare – a risk that has paid off.

“McMillan Shakespeare has been an innovator and a pioneer,” Mr Podesta said. “It’s amazing to be able to look back now and see that we were the founders of not just a business, but really an entirely new industry which now employs several thousand people.”

Mr Podesta credits much of McMillan Shakespeare’s success to their “can do” culture. “We invest heavily in rewarding and recognising our people. We’ve also been able to share the success of McMillan Shakespeare with our staff by involving them in the float of the company. They have shared in the upside of our share price acceleration and that gives me a lot of joy and a lot of pride.”

Mr Podesta will now go on to Monte Carlo to represent Australia at the EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year awards in June next year, competing against national winners from over 50 countries globally.

Chair of the judging panel, Raymond Spencer from Capgemini Financial Services Global Business Unit, said the judges were very impressed with the entrepreneurial journey Mr Podesta had been on since starting McMillan Shakespeare in 1989.

“Mr Podesta was able to identify a gap in the market and build a truly unique and innovative approach to addressing it,” Mr Spencer said.

“The size and scale of McMillian Shakespeare, the amount of funds they process and the technology framework that supports the business are all very impressive.”

The full list of 2012 Entrepreneur Of The Year national category winners, announced last night are: 

  • Emerging – Brendon Levenson, Jetts
  • Industry –  Dan Collins, GenesisCare
  • Services – Dr Andrew Kuper, LeapFrog Investments
  • Technology – Jamie Jackson, Ozsale
  • Listed – Anthony Podesta, McMillan Shakespeare
  • Social entrepreneur – Ronni Kahn, Oz Harvest 

Congratulating the winners, EY Oceania CEO and Area Managing Partner Rob McLeod said entrepreneurs were the lifeblood of the Australian economy, creating new jobs, fuelling growth and driving innovation.

“In our 12th year celebrating the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year awards in Australia we are proud to once again recognise the significant contribution these successful entrepreneurs make to our business communities,” he said.

“EY congratulates all of our 2012 nominees and winners for their vision, determination and entrepreneurial spirit.”

Grahame Petersen, Group Executive Business and Private Banking, Commonwealth Bank said, “Australia is home to a wealth of entrepreneurial talent, and the calibre of this year’s nominees reflects that. The nominees have all demonstrated a shared passion for turning their innovative ideas into a successful and thriving business proposition – something that Commonwealth Bank strongly supports. We congratulate Mr Podesta and all category winners on their amazing achievements.”

For more information on the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year program go to http://www.eoy.ey.com.au/.

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Editors please note: Descriptions, quotes and judges comments for each of the 2012 national category winners are attached. Further information on each of the winners is also available at www.eoy.ey.com.au

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Rebecca Aley
EY Australia
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