John Gandel (born 1935 as Aaron Jonna Gandel), an Australian businessman, property developer and philanthropist, made his fortune in the development of commercial real estate as well as shopping centres located in Melbourne, Victoria.
Gandel, who inherited much of his wealth from his Polish-immigrant parents, founders of the Sussan women’s clothing chain, is consistently ranked within the top ten wealthiest Australians by net worth in both the Financial Review Rich List, where in 2019 he was ranked tenth with an assessed net worth of A$6.60 billion; and in 2016 ranked seventh by Forbes magazine, with an assessed net worth of US$3.2 billion.
Since 1978, Gandel and his wife, Pauline, have headed up Gandel Philanthropy, one of the largest philanthropic family funds in Australia. The foundation provides grants to charitable community organisations for Jewish and Australian causes. Gandel’s philanthropy has focused on Judaism, education, medical causes and the arts. In 2010 he donated A$7.5 million to the National Gallery of Australia; A $1 million to fight devastating bushfires in Victoria, recalling how their own home was destroyed by fire twenty years earlier, and A$1 million to Museums Victoria. In May 2006, Gandel was awarded an honorary doctorate of philosophy from Tel Aviv University, the university’s highest honor, for his “business standing, broad leadership roles and philanthropic support in Australia and Israel.” In the same month Gandel inaugurated the Gandel Institute for Adult Jewish Learning at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
In 1990, Gandel was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in recognition of his service to business, commerce and to the community. In 2017, he was appointed a Companion of the Order for his eminent service to the community as a benefactor and supporter of a range of visual arts and cultural institutions, to youth education, medical and biotechnology innovation programs, to business, and to the advancement of philanthropic giving.
Gandel is one of thirteen living individuals listed on every Financial Review Rich List since the first list was published in 1984.