1998  -  2002      Mr Harry Perkins AO

2002  -  2009      Mr Richard Lester AM

2009  -  present  Mr Laurence Iffla

Harry Perkins AO 

Chairman of the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research 1998 - 2002

Harry Perkins

Charles Henry (Harry) Perkins AO was the inaugural Chairman of the Western Australian Institute of Medical Research (WAIMR)from 1998 until 2002. The Institute was re-named the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research in his honour in 2013.

Born in 1939, and taking over the family farm from a young age, the businessman and philanthropist always liked to introduce himself as a farmer from Bruce Rock.

As Chairman of Wesfarmers for 16 years, Harry oversaw the transformation of what was once a farmers’ co-operative into one of Australia's largest and most dynamic companies. It was during this period that he helped to create WAIMR in 1998, using a $5 million corporate donation from Wesfarmers Limited.

Mr Perkins said that without a high quality research environment in WA it would be difficult to recruit and retain the best medical minds.

The Institute honours Harry by hosting an annual lecture known as the Wesfarmers’ Harry Perkins Oration, where an international or interstate scientist addresses medical researchers and the community in Perth.

In October 2013, Mr Laurence Iffla announced that the Institute was to be renamed the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research in honour of the man who was largely responsible for its creation.



Richard Lester

Richard Lester AM 

Chairman of the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research 2002 - 2009

Mr Richard Lester AM was a member of the Board of Directors of WAIMR from 1999 and became Chairman of the Institute in 2002. He retired from both positions in May 2009.

Mr Lester held the role of Chairman on various committees providing governance, oversight and management of stakeholder relations in the development and completion of two new medical research buildings for the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, located at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Nedlands and the Fiona Stanley Hospital in Murdoch.  These roles continue in 2014.

Mr Lester was founder and Chief Executive Officer of Growth Equities Mutual Limited, the Manager of the Growth Equities Group of public investment trusts which became market leader in the 1980’s and 1990’s. 

He was a member of Murdoch University Senate for 6 years, the inaugural Chairman of the Murdoch Veterinary Trust and a Director of Wesfarmers Limited, a position he held for 13 years until 30 June 2008.


Larry Iffla

Laurence Iffla 

Chairman of the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research 2009 - 2018

Mr Iffla was Non-Executive Director of the Perkins from March 2005 and Chairman of the Board from 20 May 2009 until 31 December 2018.

He is a partner in the legal firm of Iffla Wade and prior to that was a partner for 25 years with the national legal firm Mallesons Stephen Jaques. He practices primarily in the area of commercial property law, State taxes and trusts and joint ventures.

Mr Iffla is a non-executive Director of the Perron Group and is Chairman of not-for-profit body Future Living Trust Inc. He is a former member of the Council of Law Society of Western Australia and previously held the position of Treasurer at the Society.

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