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Wealth of CWH founders and Soul Pattinson chair revealed in nation’s longest running rich list

The fortunes of the co-owners of the My Chemist Group – Jack Gance and Mario Verrochi – continue to soar according to the Australian Financial Review 2019 Rich List, published on Friday, 31 May.

The Chemist Warehouse/My Chemist co-founders this year sit at number 92 (Mr Gance) and 97 (Mr Verrochi). Last year they were at 93 and 94.

However, their net worth has risen substantially – with Mr Gance, aged 73, being adjudged to be worth $989 million (up from $813 million last year) and Mr Verrochi, aged 61, earning $960 million (up from $803 million).

The pair were ranked at numbers 58 and 60 in The Australian’s inaugural rich list in early April.

The AFR listing on Mr Gance says: “The co-founder and chair of My Chemist Retail Group cannot  escape listing rumours. Gance hosed down speculation last March that the powerhouse with more than 400.. stores would join the AFX.”

“His name would resurface in IPO chatter five months later, around a potential float of Home Consortium. Gance, alongside his co-founder Mario Verrochi, and Spotlight Group’s Morry Fraid and Zac Fried, owns the $1 billion portfolio of retail properties.”

Mr Verrochi’s citation adds that Home Consortium has “bought dozens of former Masters sites and plans to use them for retail outlets that will contain the chemist brands.”

Both citations refer to the industrial action in March which led the group to agree to “higher pay and quicker conversion from casual to permanent status” among their staff.

Meanwhile, Robert Millner, chair of Washington H Soul Pattinson (owners of API), Brickworks and BKI Investments, and his family, sit in 71st place with a net worth of $1.30 billion.

“Washington H Soul Pattinson started from a single Sydney pharmacy in the 1880s, opened by a distant Millner relative, the 68 year old’s citation states.

“It now invests in resources, food and beverage businesses, media and funds management. Brickworks, also listed on the ASX, has a complicated cross-ownership structure with Soul Pattinson  that protects the family’s interests; it was the subject of a court dispute with shareholder Perpetual.”

A number of supplements and complementary medicine founders also find their way onto the list. They include:

  • At 128, Jina Chen and Alex Wu ($758 million), founders of Nature’s Care
  • At 182, former Swissw managing director Stephen Ring & family ($530 million).
  • At 204, Marcus Blackmore, recently reinstated as CEO of Blackmores ($463 million)
  • At 231, former Swisse CEO Radek Sali ($388 million)  

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5 Comments

  1. Apotheke
    03/06/2019

    Chemist Warehouse has made its fortune on the willing backs of many of their hard working and poorly paid staff. Pity they do not operate a profit sharing scheme as part of their employment packages.

    • Andrew
      03/06/2019

      Did you see the rich-list in the papers? The pharma-types that have made the list are pretty much the antithesis of what most want pharmacy in Australia to be. The CWH boys and various CAM merchants.

    • Still a Pharmacist
      04/06/2019

      I did not see any pharmacy owner sharing the profit of the pharmacy business with employees. Although I am not a fan of CWH, but when I objectively look at their strategy, I feel that they are doing the same thing what other discounters are doing and CWH is doing it in a smarter way.

      In private level discussions, Guild leaders will tell you that CWH is destroying the industry and killing all the small independent pharmacies.

      For saving small pharmacies, if you propose to take a move which will stop PBS payment for the pharmacy for the day after dispensing 150 PBS scripts (will be allowed to take only customer contribution), they will straightway reject it.

    • TALL POPPY
      05/06/2019

      Pharmacy is the most exploitative profession employing young people there is today. Not only do over-worked pharmacists carry heavy responsibilities but they also have to be IT guru, HR person, counsellor and salesperson all rolled into one. Big banner group bosses and owners DO NOT appreciate the work they do. And this is reflected in their hourly rates being lower than unqualified clinic managers and even hospital pharmacy techs (yes you read that right). Pharmacists: you’re smarter than this – stand up for yourselves! It just isn’t right.

    • Ex-Pharmacist
      05/06/2019

      Oh but they do! Or at least they did, before the ‘profession’ got swamped by thousands of disillusioned pharmacy graduates from the now 17 pharmacy schools around Australia (B.Pharm factories). You can thank these greedy universities who see the dollar signs in the hopeful optimistic eyes of prospective pharmacy students when they turn up at Y12 information nights. And of course the Guild’s relentless propaganda promoting the ‘wonderful opportunities’ the ‘profession’ can open up for you.
      When I last worked in script sweat shops (1990’s-2000’s) I negotiated with my various owner(s) to peg my hourly rate to the number of scripts I dispensed. This was only possible as there was a shortage of grads in my area at that time. And I was good. I could dispense large numbers of scripts safely, counsel appropriately & was popular with customers & staff. FRED dispense reports were my best friend, namely the scripts dispensed / hour report (loved that report). I would always be on at least $50/hour, and often hit $60-$70/hr and once even hit $80/hour! Those days are long gone, and pharmacy owners these days take glee in building their businesses & fortunes while paying their staff pitiful award wages (or a dollar or two more – look for the adds where the ‘generous’ owners proudly state “PAY ABOVE AWARD WAGES!”.
      I always laugh out loud when I hear a pharmacy graduate say “But the PSA & Guild are working to improve pharmacist wages”.
      Nothing could be further from the truth. The Guild opposed a recent attempt to raise the pharmacist award from $27/hour (yes! $27/hour for a pharmacist!) at the fair work commission. The Guild won the case. You lost. >>https://ajp.com.au/news/pharmacists-work-value-case-weighed-up/
      When I look at the PSA board & committee members these days, all I see are mostly pharmacy owners, i.e. likely Guild members. This point should not be lost on anyone holding out hope that pharmacist wages are going to improve anytime soon.
      Bottom line?
      Pharmacy grads: Get out. Get out now!
      Pharmacy students: Do something else. Transfer out now!

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