BRW Rich Women 2014: the full list

Published 08 March 2014 00:01, Updated 11 March 2014 08:41

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BRW Rich Women 2014: the full list

Some of the faces on the 2014 BRW Rich Women list. Graphic: Stephen Clark

Little-known Vicky Teoh tops BRW’s Rich Women’s list in 2014 once again, having almost doubled her personal fortune to $765 million.

Teoh is a major shareholder of ASX-listed telecommunications company TPG Telecom, which has enjoyed enormous share price growth since 2009. Teoh is the wife of TPG’s chief executive, David Teoh, and is involved in the family’s growing number of start-up investments.

Collectively, our 30 richest self-made women are worth $4.5 billion, up from $3.4 billion in 2013. Average wealth is $150 million, up from $131 million in 2013.

Teoh has enjoyed the biggest rise in her net wealth but the second biggest in percentage terms is Macquarie bank executive Shemara Wikramanayake. As head of Macquarie’s funds group, Wikramanayake is one the best-paid women in the country. Her wealth jumps to $45 million from $30 million last year.

New entrants include founder of ENJO Australia Barb de Corti ($45 million) and founder of the Australasian College Broadway Maureen Houssein-Mustafa ($40 million). Jan Cameron, who was ranked 13th in 2013 with a fortune of $75 million, departs the list after her company Retail Adventures went into administration and she faced legal problems with creditors.

In 2014, the richest of the women on the list is worth $765 million and the poorest a mere $35 million. There are four entertainers – Nicole Kidman, Kylie Minogue, Elle Macpherson and Cate Blanchett – but 23 made their wealth from founding their own businesses and another three from high-powered corporate jobs.

This is a very different list to the main rich list, the BRW Rich 200, which is sometimes described as full of “old, white men”. Last year’s Rich 200 list started at $235 million and contained 36 billionaires, but included just 14 women and the average age was 65.

The BRW Rich Women list, timed for International Women’s Day, is intended to celebrate the achievements of Australian women in business – just as the Young Rich list highlights the success of people aged 40 and under.

Like the Young Rich list, the Rich Women list excludes people with significant inherited wealth – so Gina Rinehart is not on it, for the same reason James Packer was not on the Young Rich. See more on the criteria.

Here is the full list:

1. Vicky Teoh

This year: $765 million

Last year: $390 million (1st)

Vicky Teoh and her husband David are two of Australia’s most mysterious figures in business, fiercely guarding their privacy even as the profile of their company grows (hence the lack of photos). The couple emigrated from Malaysia in the 1980s and founded TPG Telecom, which now specialises in broadband services and has a value of $4.4 billion on the Australian Securities Exchange. Vicky Teoh’s 18 per cent personal stake in TPG has doubled in value over the past year and she also has investments in start-ups such as online spectacles retailer Oscar Wylee. See our cover story on the Teoh family from late last year.

2. Charlotte Vidor

This year: $360 million

Last year: $250 million (5th)

One of Australia’s pioneers for women in business, Charlotte Vidor established the Toga Group with her husband Ervin in 1963, after emigrating from Poland in the wake of World War II. She was an integral part of building up the business and, now in her late 70s, remains involved along with her husband and three children. Toga owns serviced apartment and hotel brands Adina, Medina, Vibe and Travelodge, as well as prawn-farming company Seafarm. Charlotte Vidor’s wealth increased last year because of the joint venture Toga Group has with Far East Orchid group. See photo here.

3. Jude Turner

This year: $355 million

Last year: N/A

Graham and Jude TurnerPhoto: Glenn Hunt

Jude Turner is included on the list for the first time to better reflect her involvement in the businesses she built with husband Graham. The couple co-founded the Topdeck Travel company in London in the 1970s, the forerunner of Flight Centre. After Flight Centre listed on the ASX in 1995, Jude Turner developed a portfolio of resorts under the Spicers brand. Her husband initially saw it as a “hobby” but it is now worth tens of millions in its own right. See cover story on Graham Turner last year.

Rhonda WylliePhoto: Jeff Atkinson

4. Rhonda Wyllie

This year: $350 million

Last year: $346 million (2nd)

Rhonda Wyllie sits on the board of the Wyllie Group, which manages the family fortune built by her late husband and corporate turnaround specialist, John Wyllie. She is Perth-based and has experience as a residential and commercial property developer.

Patricia IlhanPhoto: Josh Robenstone

5. Patricia Ilhan

This year: $335 million

Last year: $320 million (3rd)

Patricia Ilhan, the widow of John “Crazy John” Ilhan, was closely involved in founding mobile phone chain Crazy John’s. After her husband’s death, she sold her stake to Vodafone for about $150 million and invested in a diverse portfolio of assets.

Nicole KidmanVittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images

6. Nicole Kidman

This year: $330 million

Last year: $320 million (4th)

Nicole Kidman has been acting for 30 years and was the first Australian actress to win an Academy Award, for her role as Virginia Woolf in The Hours. Much of her wealth comes from her divorce from Tom Cruise, with whom she has two children. She is now married to country singer Keith Urban and has two daughters with him.

Imelda RochePhoto: Louie Douvis

7. Imelda Roche

This year: $220 million

Last year: $210 million (7th)

Imelda Roche likes to describe herself as a grandmother but she is also one of Australia’s best-known businesswomen. She and her husband Bill started out selling lamps door to door and then brought Nutrimetics to Australia in 1968. They sold the company to Sara Lee in 1997 and moved into property development through their family business, the Roche Group. She worked for the Asia Pacific Economic Forum in the 1990s, won the Order of Australia in 1995, and was immortalised in oil paint in an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra last year. See full profile.

Penelope MaclaganPhoto: Will Salter

8. Penelope Maclagan

This year: $190 million

Last year: $170 million (9th)

Penelope Maclagan co-founded software company Computershare with her brother Chris Morris and served as chief information officer until 2005. She still retains a large shareholding.

Tony and Christina QuinnPhoto: Glenn Hunt

9. Christina Quinn

This year: $180 million

Last year: $180 million (8th)

Scottish immigrants Tony and Christina Quinn made their fortune building VIP Petfoods. In 2012 the Quinns bought Darrell Lea, saving the classic Australian chocolate brand from the brink of collapse.

Therese ReinPhoto: Paul Harris

10. Therese Rein

This year: $135 million

Last year: $210 million (6th)

Also known as the wife of former prime minister Kevin Rudd, Therese Rein is a hugely successful entrepreneur in her own right. Her business Ingeus provides welfare-to-work training and placement. It sold some Australian assets when Rudd’s political career was active, but retained lucrative contracts with the UK government. Rein’s valuation has declined this year because of losses reported in the company’s last annual report.

Jamuna Gurung and Shesh GalePhoto: Josh Robenstone

11. Jamuna Gurung

This year: $105 million

Last year: N/A

Nepalese-born Jamuna Gurung and her husband Shesh Gale came to Australia as business studies students in the early 1990s. They jointly made the BRW Rich 200 for the first time last year, with a combined wealth of $265 million from commercial property investments, private education college Melbourne Institute of Technology and a hotel development in Kathmandu. See their BRW Rich 200 list profile.

Sarina RussoPhoto: Paul Harris

12. Sarina Russo

This year: $100 million

Last year: $95 million (11th)

Sarina Russo has built a $100 million fortune from her training and recruitment business and property investment. Her business started 35 years ago when she opened a typing school after losing a secretarial job. See exclusive interview with Russo.

Janet Holmes à CourtPhoto: Jessica Hromas

13. Janet Holmes à Court

This year: $80 million

Last year: $80 million (12th)

Janet Holmes à Court inherited a business riddled with a $350 million debt after her husband Robert died in 1990. She is credited with turning it around before her son Paul bought out the rest of the family in 2008.

14. Gail Kelly

This year: $80 million

Last year: $75 million (14th)

Gail Kelly at the Westpac Official Opening Ceremony in Mumbai last year.

Gail Kelly is the biggest corporate star on the BRW Rich Women list. She is chief executive of Westpac and most of her wealth comes from Westpac shares.

Kylie Minogue in New York last yearErin Baiano/The New York Times

15. Kylie Minogue

This year: $80 million

Last year: $75 million (15th)

Kylie Minogue is one of the best-known Australians, starting her performing career on soap opera Neighbours. She has made a fortune from her music and also achieved success from fashion design and fragrance ventures.

16. Lesley Gillespie

This year: $70 million

Last year: $65 million (17th)

Roger Gillespie and Lesley Gillespie founding directors of Bakers Delight. Photo: Glenn Hunt

Lesley Gillespie and her husband Roger put up $100,000 to launch the first Baker’s Delight store in 1980. There are now 700 stores across three countries and the Gillespies still serve as joint chief executive officers.

Elle MacphersonPhoto: Joshua Roberts/Bloomberg

17. Elle Macpherson

This year: $70 million

Last year: $65 million (18th)

Elle Macpherson was one of the world’s first supermodels but also a savvy businesswoman with her own lines of lingerie and beauty products. She’s also had success as a television host in the US.

Carla ZampattiPhoto: Louise Kennerley

18. Carla Zampatti

This year: $70 million

Last year: $70 million (16th)

Italian immigrant Carla Zampatti is one of Australia’s most successful and long-standing fashion designers. She launched her first range in 1965 and is still going strong.

19. Katie Page

This year: $65 million

Last year: $60 million (22nd)

Harvey Norman CEO Katie PagePhoto: Tamara Voninski

Katie Page is chief executive of Harvey Norman and owns a big parcel of shares in the retailer. She is co-founder Gerry Harvey’s second wife.

20. Julia Ross

This year: $65 million

Last year: $60 million (21st)

Julia Ross founded Julia Ross Recruitment in 1988 and sold half for $25 million in 2000 and the other half for $27 million in 2011.

Tony and Maureen Wheeler Photo: James Davies

21. Maureen Wheeler

This year: $65 million

Last year: $65 million (19th)

Maureen Wheeler is the co-founder of travel publishing company Lonely Planet with her husband Tony. The couple sold Lonely Planet to BBC Worldwide for £130 million ($244 million) in 2011. Since then they have expanded their interest in philanthropy and invested in Melbourne-based Text Publishing Company. See exclusive interview with Wheeler.

Cate BlanchettPhoto: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

22. Cate Blanchett

This year: $60 million

Last year: $50 million (25th)

Cate Blanchett is a Hollywood movie star who retains deep roots in the Australian arts scene. She lives in Sydney with her husband Andrew Upton and sons and served as co-artistic director at Sydney Theatre Company with Upton. She most recently won the Best Actress Oscar for her role in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine and previously won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for playing Katharine Hepburn in The Aviator.

23. Carolyn Creswell

This year: $60 million

Last year: $55 million (23rd)

Owner of Carman’s Fine Foods, Carolyn CreswellPhoto: Rodger Cummins

At age 18 Carolyn Creswell put up $1000 to buy a struggling small-scale muesli business. Two decades later, Carman’s Food is a major food manufacturer stocked in supermarkets and Creswell is still at the helm, having four children along the way. See more on Creswell.

Janine Allis

24. Janine Allis

This year: $55 million

Last year: $60 million (20th)

Janine Allis founded Boost Juice Bars 14 years ago and built it into an iconic Australian brand with hundreds of stores in 11 countries. She and her family still own 25 per cent of Retail Zoo, which owns Boost, Salsa’s Fresh Mex Grill, Cibo Espresso and Hatch, with total turnover of $223 million last financial year. See full interview with Allis.

25. Tania Austin

This year: $50 million

Last year: $55 million (24th)

Tania Austin

Tania Austin made most of her $50 million fortune founding and building Cotton On with her ex-husband Nigel. When the marriage ended, he took full ownership of the business. Tania bought fashion retailer Decjuba in 2008, then a chain of just six stores and now of 29, including an online store. See exclusive interview with Austin.

26. Lorna Jane Clarkson

This year: $50 million

Last year: $40 million (26th)

Lorna Jane Clarkson, founder of Lorna Jane active wear.

It was a good year for Lorna Jane Clarkson’s activewear chain Lorna Jane as the business expanded in the US, especially California. The former dental therapist opened her first store in Brisbane in 1990 and she now has more than 150, including 23 stateside. See cover story on Lorna Jane from last year.

27. Barb de Corti

This year: $45 million

Last year: N/A

ENJO founder Barb de Corti pictured at her Perth office. Photo: Aaron Bunch

Barb de Corti was working as a fitness instructor when she discovered that banishing chemicals from her home improved her son’s asthma. She invested her savings into bringing ENJO, an Austrian-based environmentally friendly cleaning product range, to Australia. Business is booming and de Corti is now taking the products to the US.

Shemara Wikramanayake

28. Shemara Wikramanayake

This year: $45 million

Last year: $30 million (30th)

Shemara Wikramanayake has made her fortune in a long and successful career at Macquarie Bank. She runs the Macquarie Funds Group, which contributes a third of the bank’s earnings, and has been tipped as a future leader of the entire organisation.

Maureen Houssein-MustafaPhoto: Louie Douvis

29. Maureen Houssein-Mustafa

This year: $40 million

Last year: N/A

Maureen Houssein-Mustafa started a beauty school two decades ago with $1600 and a leased shop on Broadway in Sydney. Called Australasian College Broadway, it is now a lucrative business with more than 1000 students and it recently achieved status as a registered higher education provider. In 2011, Houssein-Mustafa was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for services to vocational education and training, and the community. See recent profile.

Maxine HornePhoto: Glenn Hunt

30. Maxine Horne

This year: $35 million

Last year: $30 million (27th)

Maxine Horne is co-founder and chief executive of the Vita Group, which listed in 2005. It is known for electronics retail chains including Fone Zone and Apple reseller Next Byte.

Research: BRW Rich Lists editor Andrew Heathcote, researcher Allan Xavier.

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