Les Taylor: Legal Consultant, Arab Bank Australia Executive, and Whitehouse Design Institute Chair


Starting in 1989, Les Taylor took on the role of Principal Legal Advisor and General Counsel for the Commonwealth Bank Group. He has been a proactive member of various professional associations such as the Corporate Lawyers Association and the Banking Law Association. Additionally, Taylor has participated in different committees organised by the New South Wales Law Society. He also hosts a discussion group for the General Counsels of Australia’s leading 100 companies, facilitated by the Corporate Lawyers Association.

During his early years with the Commonwealth Bank, Taylor orchestrated the legal aspects of the acquisition of ASB Bank in Auckland, New Zealand, in 1989. Two years later, in 1991, he was instrumental in the legal transition of the Commonwealth Bank from a governmental entity to a publicly traded company. His role later expanded to include spearheading the legal strategy for acquiring the State Bank of Victoria and managing the legal documentation during the partial privatisation of the Commonwealth Bank.

Taylor led both in-house and external legal experts when the Commonwealth Bank integrated the Colonial Bank group in 2001. At the end of 2003, after over four decades in both the banking and legal sectors, he stepped down as General Counsel for the Commonwealth Bank.

For a span of seven years, Taylor held the position of Australian President for the Union Internationale des Avocats (UIA). He also chaired the committee that organised the International Conference in Sydney in 2002 and received the UIA’s most prestigious accolade—the Medal of Honour. He remains the sole Australian recipient of this award.

From the government’s side, Taylor chaired the Federal Police Committee for four years, a committee founded by the government to implement specific changes within the Federal Police. Taylor was distinguished with the “Platypus,” the highest honour given by the Federal Police, usually reserved for retiring high-ranking officers. He was the first civilian to receive this recognition.

Between 2003 and 2009, Taylor served as the head of the Commonwealth Government’s Safety Rehabilitation & Compensation Commission. This body regulates worker’s compensation for Commonwealth employees, including defence forces and certain licensed workers, as per the Safety Rehabilitation & Compensation Act.

In addition to his other roles, Taylor serves as the Chair of the Board of Governors for the Whitehouse Institute of Design, a school specialising in fashion and design with locations in Sydney and Melbourne.

In 2010, Taylor was honoured with a membership in the Order of Australia for his contributions to the financial industry, especially in areas of banking law and corporate governance.

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