Australia’s top executives gathered to celebrate another remarkable business year at The Palladium at Crown, Melbourne for The CEO Magazine’s Executive of the Year Awards.
Dressed in their finest black-tie attire, hundreds of industry leaders trickled into the country’s largest ballroom to recognise the 22 inspiring category winners (plus the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award), as well as the striking success of the many finalists.
As soon as guests arrived at the prestigious venue, they captured the moment against the media wall before venturing into a Gatsby-inspired cocktail room complete with blue velvet armchairs, gold tables, dozens of fresh bouquets and, most importantly, a captivating Maserati poised in the centre.
With a refreshing glass of The Dalmore Old Fashioned cocktail or flute of Moët & Chandon Champagne in hand, business leaders, including the talented guest judges, mingled as others signed up to participate in the evening’s silent auction. Of the incredible items being auctioned off was the incredibly rare A$12,000 bottle of The Dalmore 35-year-old, with all proceeds being donated to the Children’s Cancer Institute.
Following the red-carpet arrivals, guests including Gina Rinehart glided into the breathtaking ballroom ready for an evening of festivities, presented by Channel 7’s charming Larry Emdur.
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Between mouthwatering dishes of slow-cooked lamb loin, hot-smoked king salmon, pan-seared barramundi, 12-hour braised Riverine beef cheek and delectable sweets including mango tarts with passionfruit foam, raspberry and milk chocolate mousse, and lemon meringue tartlets, guests were entertained by a variety of enthralling acts.
Impersonator Ben Price had the room in stitches as he satirically took on the personalities of some famous faces. Later in the evening, mesmerising aerialists elegantly danced on aerial silks as Hanna Oblikov, who has played with the likes of Ed Sheeran and Chet Faker, delighted the audience with her magical performance.
And it wasn’t just a night of beguiling acts: almost 30 extraordinary business leaders were recognised for their outstanding efforts.
The guest judging panel – Sportsgirl CEO Colleen Callander, BMX CEO Dave Fenlon, OzHarvest Founder and CEO Ronni Kahn, Salesforce CEO Australia and New Zealand Pip Marlow, Maserati Australia, New Zealand and South Africa COO Glen Sealey, Wilson Group CEO Operations Jose Da Silva, Beyond Blue CEO Georgie Harman, The CEO Circle CEO John Karagounis, Twitter Australia MD Suzy Nicoletti, Europcar Australia and New Zealand MD Ron Santiago and 2018 CEO of the Year winner Mark Nielsen – named MLC Life Insurance CEO David Hackett the 2019 CEO of the Year.
The eighth annual Executive of the Year Awards was given an extra special touch this year, with the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award presented to Gina Rinehart in recognition of her outstanding contributions and accomplishments throughout her career.
Take a look at all the behind the scenes highlights from the night.