Meet the Chancellor
BE(UNSW), FRSN, FIEAust, FAICD
Why did you join the University Council?
I am very proud of my Novocastrian heritage and when asked, I was thrilled and honoured to be entrusted with this role. I do believe the University is pivotal to the future prosperity of our regions and we have the opportunity to maximize its contribution.
What do you look back on most fondly when it comes to your own education?
The Newcastle University College at Tighes Hill was quite a small campus. We had great camaraderie amongst students in those years leading up to autonomy. Many of us were already working in industry so the linking of theory and practice was very powerful.
Mr Jeans was brought up at Teralba on Lake Macquarie and had his secondary schooling at Newcastle Boys High School. Mr Jeans completed a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering at the Newcastle University College at Tighes Hill, the antecedent institution to the University of Newcastle. He undertook senior management development at the University of New South Wales’ Australian Graduate School of Management and the University of Hawaii. He is a fellow of the Institution of Engineers Australia and the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and a Past Fellow of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy.
Mr Jeans’ executive career spanned more than 40 years with BHP in a number of Chief Executive roles, including Executive General Manager and CEO of its Ferrous Minerals Business, three of its Steel Businesses, which included responsibility for both Newcastle and Port Kembla Steelworks, and its Service Companies (Engineering, IT, Transport, Power and Insurance). Earlier, Mr Jeans had a long career in BHP Engineering, ultimately leading that organisation.
Mr Jeans has also had extensive experience as a Director on a number of BHP Joint Venture and Subsidiary Companies, often as Chairman. He has also been a Director of Fosters Brewing Group, EnergyAustralia, Ausgrid and Newcastle Port Corporation, the latter of which he chaired from 2008 to 2013.
He is a Fellow and Past Councillor of the University of Wollongong and a Past Director and Honorary Governor of The Warren Centre for Advanced Engineering at Sydney University. He was also a Director of Wollongong University’s Illawarra Technology Corporation. He is a Past President of the Australia-Korea Business Council and a Past Councillor of the Australian Minerals Council.
A passionate advocate for regional development and the community, Mr Jeans has served on the Chambers of Commerce and Manufacturers as well as Regional Development Boards for the Australian and NSW governments in both the Hunter and Illawarra regions. Mr Jeans chaired the Illawarra Advisory Board of The Salvation Army and was Area President of both the Hunter and Illawarra Scout Associations.