Stan Perron was a millionaire by the time he was 40, often closing deals with just a handshake. Photo: Attila Csaszar

Perron’s positive impact recognised

Thursday, 28 June, 2018 - 15:55

Stan Perron has forged a reputation during his decades-long business career as an honest, self-made man with a determination to work for the betterment of Western Australia.

To that end, the now 95-year-old Mr Perron has been awarded a certificate by the conservative political support group The 500 Club, recognising him as a ‘State Shaper’ for his entrepreneurial and philanthropic impact on the state.

He joins a small collective of philanthropic leaders, including mining magnate Gina Rinehart and businessman John Hughes, to be named as State Shapers by The 500 Club.

Mr Perron’s long-time friend through The Rotary Club Perth, former WA governor Ken Michael, shared insights about Mr Perron as a person, following the presentation of the award.

“When I think of Stan Perron and his wife, Jean, I reflect on their achievements in the business world, in building a strong family unit, and caring for others,” Mr Michael told The 500 Club lunch.

He said Mr Perron’s willingness to support worthy causes through the Stan Perron Charitable Trust, founded in 1978, extended to more than 150 organisations.

The charitable trust is the state’s third largest philanthropic foundation as ranked on the BNiQ Search Engine by funds distributed, having allocated $4.4 million in the most recent financial year.

It was recently announced that, through the trust, Mr Perron would be donating $10 million across 10 years to the Perron Institute for Neurological and Translational Science.

That follows a $5 million donation made by the Perron family earlier this year to the children’s charity Parkerville for the development of its community centre Midland.

The $10 million donation was in line with many years of philanthropic giving by the family to the institute, which was renamed after Mr Perron in November 2016.

It will specifically be put towards a breakthrough in genetic patching used as a treatment for Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which was developed in partnership by Perron Institute’s director Steve Wilton and its director of research, Sue Fletcher.

The treatment has shown promising results so far, with boys able to walk past the age of 17, which is extremely rare for individuals suffering from the disease.

While the disease affects about one in every 3,500 boys, the gene editing technology has potential beyond DMD and could be applied to more than 20 neurological diseases, including cystic fibrosis and multiple sclerosis.

Some of the funds will be put towards establishing a Perron Institute for Future Medicine to be based at Murdoch University. 

Mr Michael said Mr Perron had a passion for helping those less fortunate than he was, given his own family having struggled in his younger years.

“Stan did endure early difficulties as a child and he often makes the comment that when he was a kid, ‘I had nothing, my parents had nothing and I always thought, I’m going to do better’,” Mr Michael said.

Keen to enter the workforce as soon as possible, Mr Perron turned down a scholarship to Perth Modern School after graduating top of his class at age 14, choosing instead to produce and sell fretwork wood carvings.

Mr Perron was present to accept the award, but preferred to share his acceptance thoughts in written form, read by Mr Michael.

“After completing my primary school education, I made a commitment to myself that I wanted to achieve something more out of life, so that when I married, I would be able to provide for my family more adequately than I had been accustomed to,” Mr Perron wrote. 

His resolve to provide for his family was probably the foremost driving force behind his remarkable business achievements, Mr Michael added.

With the Perron empire now spanning a portfolio of shopping centres and other properties, exclusive Toyota distribution rights within Australia, and iron ore royalties, Mr Perron is worth roughly $2 billion and continues to show up to the office of Perron Group five days a week.

His advice for budding entrepreneurs is to do a lot of hard work in the early days, be honest and be straight down the middle – appropriate words from a man who notoriously closed deals on the basis of a handshake and formed longstanding partnerships built on trust.