A University of Sydney alumnus, Dr McGill has a Bachelor of Engineering and Doctor of Philosophy in Chemical Engineering and started his career in the energy industry in 1969 when he joined Esso Australia as an engineer in their production department.
A Fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineers, Fellow of Engineers Australia and a Life Member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, Dr McGill’s influence as one of the leading thinkers in his field is well-established. He also sits on the Board of Governors of the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA), an influential advisory group driving debate and critical analysis of the most pressing economic and social issues facing Australians today.
Dr McGill's citation explained, "Dr McGill has maintained strong ties with the University and is committed to philanthropy. As well as sitting on the board of the INSPIRED campaign, he and his wife have supported the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies.”
After various engineering and management assignments in Esso offices in Australia and the United States, he was appointed Managing Director of Production in 1980, based in Malaysia. By 1985 he held the roles of Chairman and Managing Director at Esso Australia.
Dr McGill then returned to Exxon in the United States in various roles including Executive Vice President of Exxon Company International with responsibility for Exxon's oil and gas activities outside North America and a special eight-month assignment as executive assistant to the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Exxon Corporation. After four years as Executive Vice President of Exxon Company International he was named President.
His 38-year career in the energy business took him to many significant oil and gas production and processing areas of the world. At retirement in 2007, he was a member of Exxon Mobil Corporation's Management Committee with functional responsibility for the global upstream businesses which include exploration, development, production, gas and power marketing and research.
Dr McGill has maintained close ties to the University of Sydney and is currently a member of the John Grill Centre for Project Leadership’s Advisory Board. He has also served on the board of the University’s Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Foundation and the Warren Centre for Advanced Engineering providing valuable thought leadership on emerging issues in engineering and innovation.
Education is a passion of Dr McGill’s, particularly revitalising the teaching of STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – in Australia’s primary and secondary schools.
Dr McGill and his wife were instrumental in the establishment of the STEM Teacher Enrichment Academy, which partners with schools across NSW, and which aims to provide teachers with the knowledge, skills, resources and support needed to effect real change in their classrooms, thereby increasing student engagement with these subjects in the hope that they will go on to pursue STEM careers. Dr McGill currently serves as Chair of the Academy’s Advisory Board.
Dr McGill has been a powerful voice for the largest philanthropic campaign in Australia: INSPIRED – the campaign to support the University of Sydney. As a current member of the Vice-Chancellor’s Campaign Board, he has been a champion for innovation, research and education at the University.
Always committed to philanthropy, Dr McGill’s personal giving spans decades, making an indelible impact on areas such as the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies, the Warren Centre for Advanced Engineering, the University rowing teams and student scholarships, and to the STEM Teacher Enrichment Academy.
Through his many advisory roles and achievements as a distinguished leader of his field, Dr McGill has shared his vast knowledge with boards, executives, and aspiring professionals at every level to inspire major project and organisational success.
From assisting academics and University students to innovate new ideas for commercialisation, to finding vital ways to help teachers engage students in science and mathematics from an early age, Dr McGill understands that innovation and STEM are key to the economic growth and prosperity of Australia’s future. Throughout his influential career, and his long involvement with the University and the wider community, he has consistently championed these principles to the benefit of all.