RMIT: Peggy O’Neal announced as incoming Chancellor

O’Neal will assume the role from 1 January 2022. Janet Latchford, currently RMIT’s Deputy Chancellor, will act as Chancellor in the interim when current Chancellor, Dr Ziggy Switkowski AO, steps down at the end of October.

RMIT Council said it looked forward to working with O’Neal whose extensive business experience is equalled by her commitment to justice, equality and opportunity.

O’Neal said it was a terrific opportunity and responsibility.

“As a first in family university graduate, education has been life-changing for me and I look forward to contributing to RMIT in the years ahead as, like all of Australia, it moves to reinvigorate our communities in a post-pandemic environment,” she said.

“It is also an exciting moment for RMIT to build on its strong foundations. Working with incoming Vice-Chancellor Professor Alec Cameron, along with RMIT’s outstanding leadership team and dedicated academic and professional community, I am looking forward to being part of RMIT’s next chapter.”

O’Neal has a lifetime of community and business achievements. She is on the board of Women’s Housing Ltd and Dementia Australia Network, and from 2017-2020 she was a member of Victoria’s Ministerial Council on Women’s Equality and was convenor of the Minister’s Change Our Game Champions program until July 2018.
She has been President of the Richmond Football Club since 2013 and serves on the AFL’s Mental Health Steering Committee and the Australian Institute of Sport Athlete Wellbeing and Engagement Advisory Committee. She is a consultant to Lander & Rogers, specialising in superannuation and financial services law, and was previously a partner at Herbert Smith Freehills from 1995-2009.

O’Neal is chair of Vanguard Superannuation, a director of Infrastructure Specialist Asset Management Limited, VicHealth and the Fulbright Australia Commission.

In 2018, she was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws by Swinburne University and in 2019, she was made an Officer of the Order of Australia, recognising her service to football, superannuation and finance law and for the advancement of women in leadership roles. She is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Council said O’Neal’s depth of board and corporate governance expertise, along with her track record for building diverse, purpose-driven organisations made her an outstanding appointment to the position of Chancellor of RMIT University.