Sir Eric Neal
Sir Eric Neal in Adelaide in 2016
|32nd Governor of South Australia|
22 July 1996 - 3 November 2001
|Premier||Dean Brown (1996)|
John Olsen (1996-2001)
|Dame Roma Mitchell|
|Chief Commissioner of Sydney|
26 March 1987 - 31 December 1988
as Lord Mayor
as Lord Mayor
|Born||24 June 1924|
Sir Eric James Neal, (born 24 June 1924) is a retired Australian businessman and public officer. He is a former Governor of South Australia (1996-2001), Commissioner of Sydney (1987-1988), and Chancellor of Flinders University (2002-2010).
Neal trained as an engineer at the South Australian School of Mines (now part of the University of South Australia), and became a successful businessman. The peak of his career was fourteen years as CEO of Boral. He was also a Director of John Fairfax Holdings, BHP, Coca-Cola Amatil and AMP Limited and Chairperson of Westpac and Atlas Copco Australia Pty Ltd.
In 1984, Neal was listed as one of Australia's 125 best remunerated business executives by Australian Business magazine. In 1992, journalist Andrew Cornell described him as a "tough, frequently autocratic businessman." Not withstanding, he oversaw 14 years of consecutive and rising profits for shareholders and history has shown that his views and decisions made whilst on the Westpac Board were correct.
Neal has chaired various government advisory bodies and served as National Chairman, Duke of Edinburgh's Award (1984-92), President of the Order of Australia Association (1989-92), Chair of the Opera Foundation (1990-96). He was Chief Commissioner of the City of Sydney (1987-88) and a member of the Senate of the University of Sydney.
Neal was appointed Governor of South Australia in 1996, and became the first person from the business community to take up residence in Government House in Adelaide. He held the position until 2001, after which he served as Chancellor of Flinders University from 2002 until 2010.
Neal is a former Honorary Air Commodore of the City of Adelaide Squadron of the RAAF and Honorary Colonel of the Royal South Australia Regiment. He is also an honorary life member of the Returned and Services League of Australia.
In 1981, Neal was appointed to a committee tasked with reviewing Australia's Higher Defence Organisation. In 1992 he was awarded the United States Department of Defence Medal for Distinguished Public Service for his contribution in Chairing the Council that organised Australian events commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea.
In 2009 Neal commenced his final role in public office, serving as Chair of the Veterans Advisory Council in South Australia. This culminated in the opening of the Memorial Walk in Kintore Avenue. Neal retired from the position in 2016, concluding 76 years in private and public sector employment.
Neal was appointed (1984-1992) as National Chair of the Duke of Edinburgh's International Award - Australia and as an International Trustee of the Award from 1987-1997.
|Companion of the Order of Australia (AC)||1988|
|Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO)||1992|
|Knight of the Order of St John||1996|
|Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service||1992|
|Distinguished Service Medal - Gold||2016|
Neal was born in London, England and migrated with his family to Adelaide in February 1927. He became engaged to Joan Bowden in 1949, they were married at St. Peter's Church Glenelg in 1950 and their first son was born in 1951 in Broken Hill. A second son was born in 1963 in Ballarat.
Neal played football with the Adelaide University Soccer Club from 1946-49 and eventually became the club's patron.