The legacy of Sir John Logan Campbell

09 September 2014
Sir John Logan Campbell
Sir John Logan Campbell

Sir John Logan Campbell (1817-1912) was one of New Zealand’s first “serial” entrepreneurs and his legacy of innovation and business is embedded in the Business School through the Sir John Logan Campbell Executive-in-Residence programme and a number of other activities.

Sir John was involved in trading in merchandise and farming, along with shipping, brewing, timber, export of flax, kauri gum and manganese, newspaper publishing, and became the first Secretary of the newly established Auckland Savings Bank (ASB) in 1847. He was also a foundation director and eventually President of the Bank of New Zealand during the period 1872 to 1899. His public roles were in the government of the province and as a member of the New Zealand parliament, as a captain of the militia and in the foundation of the Mechanics Institute and the Northern Club to name a few. In fact, he served on more than 40 committees, boards, trusts or directorates. 

Although his influence was felt in many businesses of the time, his name is relevant today through his trust, which is still supporting Auckland’s social, charitable and educational causes.  

The University of Auckland and the Business School have both been recipients of the trust’s largesse. In 2002, the Sir John Logan Campbell Residuary Estate supported the creation of an Executive-in-Residence role which has enabled the school to gain access to leading business people. Since its inception the school has been host to executives such as Aasha Murthy (Managing Director of Starbucks Coffee – Australia and New Zealand), Dr Alan Jackson (Boston Consulting Group), Dr Jim Watson (CEO of Genesis Research and Development), David Irving (former CEO of Heinz Watties), and Dr Brian Hannan (former CEO of Methanex). Through his exposure to the power of education, David Irving went on to chair The ICEHOUSE, named in 2010 by Forbes Magazine as one of the top ten technology incubators in the world.

Last year Greg Cross, another experienced “serial” entrepreneur, became the new Sir John Logan Campbell Executive-in-Residence and chairman of the UABS Entrepreneurs’ Challenge Investment Committee. 

“Greg is an impressive businessman, much like Sir John Logan Campbell,” said Greg Whittred, Dean of the Business School. “Sir John became one of Auckland’s more prominent figures in the commercial life of the city, deeply interested in education and cultural matters.  

“I know Greg also believes in the power of education and we will be using his expertise to advise and inform the entrepreneurial learning of our students.”

The Business School recognises the trust’s support with the naming of the Sir John Logan Campbell Boardroom, which seems appropriate given the many corporate boards Sir John chaired and attended during his 72 years in Auckland’s business life. For the past three years the trust has also sponsored the Dean’s Distinguished Speaker Series, ensuring Business School alumni, donors and corporate partners gain access to international business faculty and thought leadership.

Visit the Dean’s Distinguished Speaker Series web page

Read about the Business History Project