Vale Mr Laurie Cox AO

Laurie Cox AO, a visionary Australian businessman and previous Chairman of Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, died peacefully after a long illness on Sunday 21st May 2023. 

Known for his exceptional leadership and commitment to philanthropy, Laurie leaves behind a legacy of remarkable achievements and contributions, including his 25-year involvement with the Institute.

Beyond his accomplishments in the business world, Laurie made significant contributions to child health research. Laurie was Vice Chairman of the Institute from its inception as the Murdoch Institute for Research into Birth Defects in 1986 until 1992, and then as Chairman from 1993 until 2009. After stepping down from the Board, Laurie remained passionate about supporting the continued growth of the Institute and the development of home-grown scientific and clinical talent.

Laurie recruited Professor Bob Williamson from London in 1995, to take the Directorship of an excellent but boutique and small genetics institute with about 150 staff and students. Together Laurie and Bob, along with Professors Graeme Barnes and Glenn Bowes, led the merger of the Murdoch Institute and The Royal Children's Hospital Research Institute in 2000, to form the Murdoch Children's Research Institute. Aided immeasurably by Laurie’s leadership, the Institute has grown in scope to become a global leader in child health research.

With extensive experience in Australia’s financial services industry, Laurie held executive and chair positions in several renowned organisations during his career, including Executive Director of Macquarie Group between 1996 and 2009

As Chairman of the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) Ltd from 1989 to 1994, he played a pivotal role in modernising Australia’s financial landscape by amalgamating six state-based stock exchanges into the ASX and introducing electronic trading. This visionary action reshaped the Australian securities market.

Laurie's dedication to philanthropy extended to his role as Acting Chairman of the Macquarie Group Foundation, where he made a lasting impact on the community. The Foundation continues its important philanthropic connection to Murdoch Children’s, with its competitively awarded $10 million contribution to the World Scabies Program in 2019 as part of its 50th Anniversary Awards.

Laurie's exceptional achievements garnered recognition and accolades. In 1996, he was honoured as an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for his outstanding service to business and commerce. 

Additionally, he received the John Storey Medal from the Australian Institute of Management in 1995 and the Centenary Medal in 2003 for his significant contributions to the business and philanthropic sectors.

Laurie Cox's visionary leadership, philanthropic endeavours, and commitment to child health research have left an indelible mark on Australian society. His legacy will continue to inspire future generations in their pursuit of excellence and positive change. Laurie will be dearly missed by his family, friends, colleagues, and the communities he touched.