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Sir Arvi Parbo
, 1993

by William Dargie

oil on canvas (frame: 112.0 x 82.5 cm)

Sir Arvi Parbo AC (b. 1926) succeeded James Forrest as chairman of Alcoa of Australia in 1978. Parbo came to Australia from Estonia in 1949, having studied at Germany's leading-edge Clausthal mining academy. He gained a first class honours degree in engineering in Adelaide, and began work as an underground surveyor and technical assistant in Bullfinch, WA. Almost immediately he began the remarkable career rise that culminated in his chairmanship of Western Mining Corporation from 1974 to 1999, Alcoa from 1978 to 1996, and BHP from 1989 to 1992. He has also served as chairman of Munich Reinsurance Company and Zurich Australian Insurance Group, and a director of the Aluminium Company of America, Hoechst Australian Investments, Chase AMP Bank and Sara Lee Corporation. His colossal contribution to the nickel and aluminium industries has brought him a great number of Australian and international awards and six honorary doctorates.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Gift of Alcoa World Alumina Australia 2005
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
Accession number: 2003.86