A quiet director and an unsung hero – J-Wire

September 16, 2022 by Alan Slade

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Jack Howard Ritch was born during World War II in Glasgow on December 11, 1941, the first child of Doris and Eddie Ritch.

Jack Ritch

His brother Paul followed in 1947. Jack remembered Glasgow as a lovely but very cold place, where one of his jobs was to wrap the water pipes to the house in newspaper to keep them from freezing .

When he was 10, the family emigrated to Sydney. They dropped their bags at the apartment a friend had arranged at Campbell Parade, Bondi Beach, and walked down the beach road. Jack remembered the cultural contrast every time he passed the building.

Jack attended Bondi Beach Public School, from where he qualified for the selective Sydney Boys High, where he made lifelong friendships. It was during his teenage years that he became involved in Jewish and other community organizations.

In 1958, after his graduation exams (since replaced by the Higher School Certificate), he entered the AMP the following Monday. He studied economics at the University of Sydney in the evenings.

For what would become a legendary career, spanning 50 years, he got off to a rocky start. Given the job of refilling the inkwells, during his first week he dropped a bottle of ink, smashing it on the floor. It seemed to many that he wouldn’t amount to much. It would have been interesting to see the expression on their faces when, in 2014, the Property Council of Australia, of which he was president from 1990 to 1992, declared him an industry “legend”.

He went on to hold various management positions, but his greatest passion came to fruition when he was appointed Director of Property, responsible for overseeing and building what was Australia’s largest property portfolio. , before becoming Managing Director and Chairman of AMP Capital. His intuition, knowledge, experience and tenacity were the main cause of AMP’s ability to survive the global financial crisis of 2008. He was also instrumental in establishing the Chinese insurance industry after Whitlam’s rapprochement, which earned him close relations with the Chinese finance minister and other senior officials.

Throughout his career, he has held several chairmanships, including AMP Aged Care, Galileo Property Trust Japan, Melbourne and Launceston Airport Companies, South-East Asia Property Company and the Shopping Center Council of Australia. He was also the first national chairman of the Property Council of Australia.

Jack’s undying legacy, shared with former Lord Mayor Frank Sartor, in Sydney is the Angel Place Recital Hall. How he got there is an amazing story, of which Jack gives a summary at

YouTube player

Throughout his life, Jack Ritch has been a passionate supporter and active board member of philanthropic organizations including Joseph Varga School, which serves children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, Birthright Australia, which takes care of single-parent families and Keshet Eilon, a music center in northern Israel. , close to the Lebanese border, for talented string players, Israeli Arabs and Jews as well as international students.

He was particularly good at accepting challenges, one of which was leading the fledgling Powerhouse Museum Foundation, at the invitation of then-director Dr Kevin Fewster, who wrote: head of real estate and investing in the world is something that probably won’t happen again. Even more impressive, Jack retained a warmth and genuine concern for his colleagues that is probably very rare in the upper echelons of business circles.

Jack had a special way of connecting with everyone he interacted with. In all spheres of life, family, friends and work, he had a positive impact on everyone.

His opinion was always sought for advice and guidance on major decisions, whether personal or business, especially when the two came together and a moral compass was needed. He was renowned for his high EI (emotional intelligence).

A former co-worker told his son, “Your father always gave everyone a fair hearing. Another wrote: ‘No one in Australian business was more respected than Jack.

For all of her professional and community accomplishments, however, her greatest source of pride was her family.

He married Diana de Berg in 1965, with whom he had three sons. Their relationship was close and loving until his last breath on August 24, 2022.

Jack Ritch is survived by his wife, Diana, their three sons and daughters-in-law, David and Julie, Antony and Lara, and Simon and Zoe, and seven grandchildren.

Born: December 11, 1941, Glasgow

Died: August 27, 2022, Sydney

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