John Bertrand

Victorious America's Cup captain, international sporting icon, leader

John Bertrand, international sportsman, businessman and philanthropist, sailed into history as skipper of Australia II's dramatic America's Cup victory in 1983 which broke the New York Yacht Club's 132-year winning streak and achieved arguably the greatest upset in modern sports history.

The 'Australia II' team victory was voted by the Confederation of Australian Sport as the greatest team performance in 200 years of Australian sport.

Mastering the principles of leadership after a long international apprenticeship, John's journey took him through three America's Cup Challenges and three Olympic Games before he had assembled enough leadership knowledge and skill to finally succeed.

A world champion and Olympic medallist, John Bertrand represented Australia in five America's Cups (1970, 1974, 1980, 1983 and 1995) and two Olympic Games (Munich 1972 and Montreal 1976), winning bronze in Montreal in the Finn Class. In over 25 years of America's Cup campaigning, he was involved in all areas of activity, from skipper of 'Australia II' to Chairman of 'oneAustralia'.

Born in Melbourne, John Bertrand graduated with an honours degree in Mechanical Engineering from Monash University and a Master of Science degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

John's inspirational book, Born to Win - A lifelong struggle to win the America's Cup, was, at the time, the largest selling autobiography in Australian publishing history.

John Bertrand is both a businessman and philanthropist. Over a more than 30-year business career, he has successfully built companies in the marine industry, property development and the digital media industries. He co-founded and chaired Quokka Sports, the online sports broadcast company, which in 1999 was successfully floated on NASDAQ in the United States.

In 1985 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for his services to sailing. He is a member of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame and a life member of the International America's Cup Hall of Fame. Since 2004 he has been Chairman of The Sport Australia Hall of Fame and Chairman of the Alannah and Madeline Foundation for children, a world leader in anti-bullying and cyber-safety programs within Australian schools.

In 2008 John Bertrand was named Melburnian of the Year.

In 2013, as Vice Chancellor Professorial Fellow of Monash University, John launched a new high-end leadership program benchmarking Australia's most successful leaders from within commerce, technology, military and sport.

John was chairman of selectors of the #1 world ranked Australian Olympic sailing team for London. He is a mentor to many aspiring young Olympians and continues to compete at the highest levels, in 2010 winning the World Etchells class sailing championships and placing 3rd in 2012.

In August 2013, John was appointed Chairman and President of Swimming Australia. With over 2000 coaches and 1.5 million people involved in the sport, swimming is Australia's largest participation sport and the most successful at the Olympic Games.

In October 2013, John was named a Legend of The Sport Australia Hall of Fame and the same month received an Honorary Doctorate from Victoria University for his contribution to sport and community leadership in Australia.

As Australia reaches economic and social crossroads, the need for change in our social fabric, our business community and our organisations is crucial. John Bertrand is one of Australia's most respected leaders and his presentations on leadership and the structure of a successful business have been acclaimed around Australia and internationally.

Client testimonials

The way John engaged and related his stories in both past and present lives and to business and life overall was sensational. Out of 10….11/10.  Highly recommended. 

Property Exchange Australia (PEXA)