Elizabeth Alexander AO
Elizabeth Alexander established herself as a leader within Australian accounting at an early stage in her career. As the first female partner of a Big 8 accounting firm she was uniquely placed to promote the interests of women in the profession. She has worked continuously to empower women both within the accounting profession and the wider business community. Attaining professional success early in her career provided the opportunity to be engaged in the wider development of the profession over a sustained period of time. Elizabeth Alexander has used this time wisely and to great advantage. Through her drive and initiative she introduced risk management and corporate governance to her firm's portfolio of services. Part of her legacy is that these activities are now staple offerings of most large accounting firms. As a director of Australian Accounting Standards Board and member of the Financial Reporting Council, Elizabeth has also been extensively involved in broad oversight of the accounting and auditing standard-setting process. As a member of the Takeovers Panel she has also been an active regulator. As a senior office holder with CPA Australia she was also actively involved in efforts to bring regulatory backing to accounting standards. Many awards have come Elizabeth's way. Her professional accounting body, CPA Australia bestowed Life Membership. She was also made a Member of the Order of Australia.
The Australian Accounting Hall of Fame honours Elizabeth Alexander as a pioneer female practitioner, mentor, accounting and auditing standard-setter and regulator.
Elizabeth A Alexander AO FCPA has demonstrated leadership and passion for over forty years by empowering business women through her extensive involvement and active contribution to the accounting profession. She has been a pioneer breaking new ground in accounting as the first female partner in a 'Big 8' accounting firm. She was also the first female State and National President of CPA Australia. Her outstanding contribution to enhance women's lives has been demonstrated by leadership and successful promotion of women's interest and modelled participation and representation at many levels including significant roles on boards and quality committees.
Elizabeth Alexander is a non-executive Director of Medibank, CSL and DEXUS, Property Group, and is an Advisor to Blake Dawson's corporate team. She chairs the Board of C.S.L and DEXUS Wholesale Property Limited. She has also been appointed as the independent Chair of the Audit Committee of the Australian Prudential Regulator (APRA). She is a former member of the Takeovers Panel and was the Deputy Chair of the Financial Reporting Council. As a former Partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers (1977 to 2002), she specialised in the area of risk management and corporate governance issues, and was instrumental in the establishment of these practices in the Australian firm.
Elizabeth is a former National and State President of CPA Australia and is a past National President of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She has held a large number of position within CPA Australia. It was during her Presidency of CPA Australia that the drive for legal backing to accounting standards in Australia was achieved. Elizabeth is one of only two female Life Members of CPA Australia. In 1990 she was made a member of the Order of Australia (AM) and in 2019 she was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO).
Other notable appointments/memberships include:
- Director of Gas & Fuel Corporation: 1986-89
- Member of Australian Film Commission: 1982-85
- Member of Small Business Council of Australia: 1984-87
- Member of Australian Accounting Standards Board: 1992-96
- Member of Consultative Committee to the Australian Securities Commission
- Member of Howard National Commission of Audit
- Member of Trade Policy Advisory Committee
- Member of Council of University of Melbourne, currently Chairman of Finance Committee
- Chairman of the Board of Advice to the Salvation Army (Southern Command) to 2009
- National President and Director of the Winston Churchill Fellowship Trust