On this day, April 22 in the year 1938, one of the most prominent and fearless Australian businessmen in the 1980s was born in London, England. His name was Alan Bond, the founder of bankrupt Bond Corporation.
Alan was the son of a commercial painter. At age 12, he moved to Australia with his family. He dropped out of high school at age 14 and went to work as a sign writer. After 4 years of working hard and saving as much as he could, he established his property development company and became a millionaire by the time he was 21.
In 1959, Alan founded Bond Corporation. In its early years, its main business activity was buying and developing the areas around Perth, a city in Western Australia. Later, he diversified into beer brewing, mining, and media. In the 1980s, his insatiable appetite for business deals led him to put up a Hong Kong subsidiary which was then housed in a gleaming skyscraper called Bond Centre. From there, he expanded his holdings through massive accumulation of debt. When he tried to acquire, London-based mining firm Lonhro, the CEO Tiny Roland released a damning report that Bond Corporation was actually insolvent. Eventually, Bond Corporation was declared bankrupt in 1992.
For all his contribution to Australia especially his financial support to sports development, he was awarded Australian of the Year in 1978. In 1983, Alan shot to international fame when he and his team won America’s Cup sailing race, the first time for a non-American player.
In 1987, Alan founded Bond University in Queensland, the first private non-profit university in Australia.
Alan was jailed a few times for corporate crimes, the longest of which was from 1992 to 1996. Yet he always came out of jail with the same enthusiasm for life and for business, never acknowledging his own frailty.
Alan died of complications arising from heart surgery in 2015 at the age of 77. He had married twice and had four children with his first wife Eileen. In 2008, he was still one of the richest Australian with a net worth of $255 million from business interests which included an African diamond mine and Madagascan oil fields.