CEDA Chief Executive Officer, Melinda Cilento said Sir Arvi made a valuable contribution to CEDA over many years.
“As one of four CEDA patrons, Sir Arvi supported our research and vision to provide non-partisan analysis on the economic and social issues affecting Australia,” Ms Cilento said.
“Before serving as a CEDA Patron, Sir Arvi was a member of our Board of Governors from 2003 to 2013. His influence and involvement with CEDA extends back decades.”
Regarded as a giant of the Australian business community, Sir Arvi arrived as a refugee in Australia in 1949 after fleeing his native Estonia ahead of Soviet occupation.
He studied Engineering at the University of Adelaide before joining Western Mining Corporation (WMC) in the 1950s. He rose through the ranks of WMC to eventually become Managing Director in 1974 and later served as Executive Chairman.
Over his long career Sir Arvi was associated with some of Australia’s most prominent companies including BHP and Alcoa.
Sir Arvi’s passion for business and his adopted country struck a chord with many who met him and heard him speak.
Commenting in CEDA’s 50th anniversary publication in 2010, prominent company director Dick Warburton described Sir Arvi as “A king of boards and companies and ‘Australianism’.” He reflected on hearing Sir Arvi deliver a passionate speech in the late 1980s about the desire, the willingness and the need for us to move from the ‘management versus employees’ approach to a cooperative approach.
Sir Arvi had described being appointed as one of CEDA’s patrons as a great honour.
“CEDA has been described as an apolitical, non-profit, national, independent, member-based organisation providing thought leadership and policy perspectives on the economic and social issues affecting Australia,” he said.
“Since it was established in 1960, it has done exactly that. It has been a privilege for me to be associated with CEDA's activities for many years.”
Ms Cilento said CEDA has gained greatly as an organisation from Sir Arvi’s thought leadership and gravitas.
“Sir Arvi will be remembered fondly by all who knew him,” she said. “On behalf of CEDA I extend or sincere condolences to Sir Arvi’s family on his passing.”