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Scholarship honour for “giant” of restructuring

Restructuring & Insolvency
Welcoming guests to the launch of the Stephen Parbery Scholarship in Sydney last week, partner Leon Zwier explained that Arnold Bloch Leibler had previously initiated scholarships honouring legal luminaries who had influenced the direction and culture of the profession.

In the case of the Parbery scholarship, he said the firm had decided that in an environment of economic change and upheaval, it made good sense to extend our horizons beyond the law to recognise someone who epitomises the very best of the insolvency profession.

The Stephen Parbery Scholarship, established by Arnold Bloch Leibler and the University of New South Wales, will enable talented students from rural areas of NSW to study an undergraduate degree at the university’s highly regarded Business School.

Born in Bega in 1952, Stephen Parbery is considered a “senior statesman” of the insolvency industry. In his 40+ year career, he has acted in a number of Australia’s largest and most complex insolvency restructurings, involving matters of priority to government and the community. He has acted for the Federal Government in Ansett Airlines, Regional Airlines, UMP AMIL and HIH Insurance and oversaw the successful restructuring of ABC.

“He has used his talent and influence to shape it and, in the process, saved jobs, iconic brands and the confidence of the community,” said Leon.

“Over a long and continuing career, Steve has earned the respect and gratitude of adversaries as well as clients, of the judiciary, bureaucrats, business leaders and politicians. He has dealt with those involved in corporate failure with respect (unless they are crooks) and has unobtrusively but highly effectively worked to improve the style and culture of the restructuring profession, including by championing women in the professions.”

Officially launching the scholarship, UNSW Chancellor David Gonski said it would always be a special scholarship for him and that he looked forward to observing the scholars as they came through.

With characteristic humility Stephen Parbery told family, friends and colleagues who had gathered to celebrate his honour that: “While the scholarship bears my name, it is really a reflection of what many country born students have experienced, rather than just a recognition of my own journey.”

In her vote of thanks, partner Susanna Ford described herself as “a personal beneficiary of Stephen’s very generous, wise counsel and mentoring” and encouraged those present to support the scholarship.

“We don’t need to look out the window at the smoke haze to know that our rural communities, so essential to our agriculture and resources industries, continue to do it tough. We want this to be a perpetual scholarship that provides students from rural and regional communities an opportunity to study for a business degree at UNSW.”


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