Australian businessman Kerry Matthew Stokes AC was born John Patrick Alford on September 13, 1940. He has commercial holdings in a variety of sectors, including real estate, mining, and construction machinery. He is most recognised for being the chairman of Australia's largest broadcasting company, Seven Network. In recognition of his contributions to Australian business, strategic leadership, the promotion of corporate social responsibility, to the arts through philanthropy, and to the community, most notably those services supporting young people, Stokes was named an Officer of the Order of Australia in 1995 and a Companion of the Order of Australia in 2006. According to the 2023 Financial Review Rich List, Stokes was the twelfth-richest Australian by net worth as of May 2023.
Early life & Career
The birthplace of John Patrick Alford is Melbourne, Victoria. Marie Jean Alford, his single mother, raised him. Stokes was raised in the slum neighbourhood of Camp Pell after being adopted by Matthew and Irene Stokes. He later left school at the age of 14. "My background was very difficult, very difficult, and I wouldn't wish that on anyone," Stokes told the ABC in June 2000. I worked in a variety of jobs, which inevitably led to a variety of experiences. I spent some time on the streets, and working might be really challenging. We travelled to places where there was employment because it was difficult to get employment in Australia at the time.
The first work that Stokes is known to have had was installing television antennas in Perth. This was followed by a protracted amount of time spent developing real estate in the 1960s and 1970s. In addition, he and partners Jack Bendat and Kevin Merifield created a number of shopping centres in Perth and other parts of Western Australia.
The holding company for Stokes' holdings in a variety of Australian and worldwide enterprises and ventures, including real estate, building, mining, and oil exploration, is his private company, Australian Capital Equity. In 1988, he made an investment in the Western Australian Caterpillar franchise. Since then, the business, now known as WesTrac, has franchises for equipment dealers in Western Australia, New South Wales, and the Australian Capital Territory. It employs close to 4,000 people worldwide, 500 of whom are Australian apprentices.
Stokes has had four marriages. Two of his children were raised by Dorothy "Dot" Ebert, his first wife. It was implied during an interview with The Bulletin that Stokes had a strained relationship with his first parents. He had two sons with Denise, his receptionist, with whom he had a second marriage. Stokes became a single father after Denise left the marriage and moved abroad. In 1992, he married Peta Toppano, an Australian television actress. Three years passed during this marriage. Christine Simpson (née Parker), his fourth wife, whom he wed in 1996, was a newsreader for Channel 10 at the time of their initial encounter. Stokes has three little ones.
Stokes' net worth was estimated by Forbes to be $2.90 billion as of 2019. Stokes was one of ten Australians who have appeared on every Financial Review Rich List or its predecessor, the BRW Rich 200, since it was originally published in 1984. As of May 2023, the Australian Financial Review estimated Stokes' net worth to be A$7.45 billion, making him the twelfth-richest Australian.