A roll call of Australia’s business, sporting, political and entertainment elite have paid tribute to the life of David Coe, the former executive chairman of Allco Finance Group.
More than 1200 mourners turned up at Sydney Grammar School today for a memorial service for the man they referred to as ‘‘Coey’’, including the former prime minister John Howard, Australian cricket captain Michael Clarke, star spin bowler Shane Warne, film star Russell Crowe and INXS guitarist Kirk Pengilly.
Former Wallaby great Michael Lynagh told the mourners that the financier had a vast network of friends, and an ‘‘amazing ability to make them all feel important’’.
‘‘David had an amazing intellectual capacity yet he never boasted or lectured,’’ he said. ‘‘David had an ability to make people happy and feel good about themselves.’’
The turnout for the memorial for Mr Coe was noticeable for the vast cross-section of people from Australian society, encompassing areas such as sport, business, politics and the arts.
High-profile members of the business community in attendance included Seven Group Holdings executive director David Leckie, David Jones chairman Peter Mason, former PBL boss Peter Yates, former Qantas chief executive Geoff Dixon and Future Fund chairman David Gonski.
Other business leaders included Ramsay Health Care chairman Paul Ramsay, Leighton chief financial officer Peter Gregg, QBE chairman Belinda Hutchinson, former deputy Allco chairman Bob Mansfield, former Allco Finance director Gordon Fell and TPG managing partner Ben Gray.
Former stars of the Wallabies at the service for Mr Coe included Phil Kearns, Tim Horan, John Eales, George Gregan and Simon Poidevin.
Cricket commentator Mark Nicholas, Channel Nine presenter Richard Wilkins and top Sydney chief Neil Perry were also among the mourners.
Mr Coe, 58, died suddenly last month while on a skiing holiday in Aspen, Colorado.
Widely regarded as a key figure in Sydney’s tight-knit business establishment, Mr Coe began his career as a corporate lawyer before rising to national prominence during the bull market last decade as the executive chairman of Allco.
But the collapse in November 2008 of Allco owing $1.1 billion became one of the most high-profile failures of a raft of Australian companies during the global financial crisis.
Meeting the same fate as companies such as Babcock & Brown and ABC Learning, Allco came unstuck as global debt markets froze and the sharemarket plunged.