Eminent Victorian business leader Paul Little has accepted the key appointment of chair of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation.
Premier Daniel Andrews today announced that Mr Little would succeed John Harnden, who will relinquish the Grand Prix role after becoming chief executive of the Melbourne and Olympic Parks Trust, on 16 September.
Mr Little has made significant contributions to Victorian business, sporting and community life after making his name as founder and managing director of transport and logistics giant Toll Holdings. He is currently chairman of the Little Group which has interests in property, aviation, marine transport and philanthropy.
Mr Little was awarded an Order of Australia in 2010 for his work in Australia’s transport and logistics industry and recognising his support for sporting and medical research organisations.
He served as chairman of the Essendon Football Club from 2013-15 and has been chair of the state’s primary tourism and events body Visit Victoria since 2017. Mr Little will step down from his position at Visit Victoria on 16 September and will be replaced by current board member Janet Whiting, a partner at Gilbert + Tobin law firm.
As chair of Visit Victoria Mr Little and the board oversaw a 22 per cent increase in total visitor expenditure to $30 billion, together with the creation of 13,000 extra jobs in Victoria’s tourism industry.
Melbourne has hosted the Formula 1® Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park since 1996. In July, Formula 1® executives announced that the sport would take up a two-year option to extend Melbourne’s race contract until 2025.
The Australian Grand Prix is one of the world’s iconic sporting events with more than 324,000 people attending the four-day carnival this year. Melbourne will again be the first event on the F1 calendar in 2020, with race day confirmed for Sunday, March 15.
The Australian MotoGP™ is locked in at Phillip Island until 2026 and will be held from October 25-27.
Premier Daniel Andrews said: “Paul Little is a proud Victorian and well placed to steer the future direction of the Grand Prix Corporation.
“I’m delighted that Mr Little has agreed to take on this important role – as we saw under his stewardship of Visit Victoria his drive and experience will help ensure that the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix remains one of the great events anywhere in the world.”
Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events Martin Pakula said: “Mr Little’s expertise will be invaluable in ensuring the Australian Grand Prix Corporation continues to play a crucial role in delivering a major international event at Albert Park that is acknowledged as one of the best in the country.”
Australian Grand Prix Corporation chair Paul Little said: “I am looking forward to helping shape the best motor racing events in the world – events that project the success and energy of Melbourne and Victoria around the globe.”