The estate of Harvey Norman co-founder Ian Norman says it intends to remain a long-term shareholder in the company, after his death at age 75.
Mr Norman, who launched the electrical, furniture and bedding company with Gerry Harvey in 1982, held a 16.5 per cent stake in the company, which will now be controlled by his estate and estate controlled entities.
In a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange, the company listed fellow director Christopher Brown as the executor and trustee of Mr Norman's will. The stake represents 175 million shares, worth around $560 million.
"The executor and trustee has advised the company that the estate of Mr Norman and estate controlled entities intend to remain a long term shareholder in the company," the statement said.
An intensely private person, Mr Norman preferred to stay out the spotlight and let his high-profile business partner Mr Harvey do most of the talking. The pair first met selling vacuum cleaners in Sydney in the '60s.
Adman John Singleton, a friend, once said Mr Norman's partnership with Mr Harvey made him the luckiest bloke since the Beatles' Ringo Starr. (Starr replaced the Beatles original drummer, Pete Best, on the eve of the group's meteoric rise to fame).
"Some people choose their parents well," Singleton said. "Ian just joined the best business partner in the world."
A member of the BRW Rich List, Mr Norman was a non-executive director of Harvey Norman, who was known to stay out of business operations. Mr Harvey once quipped his partner's involvement extended to coming in to "pick up his mail once a week".
Mr Brown, a partner at Brown Wright Stein Lawyers, has been a director of Harvey Norman since 1987, when it listed on the ASX.
According to the company's most recent annual report, Mr Brown holds 103,467 shares in the company.
Ian Norman co-founded the Harvey Norman chain and remained a non-executive director. Ben Rushton