Former Queensland Country Bank Chair and Brisbane Broncos Managing Director, Bruno Cullen, has been recognised with an Order of Australia award in the 2020 Queen’s Birthday honours list.
The award recognises Cullen’s significant contribution to the member-owned banking sector over a 43 year career that saw him progress from a teller in Queensland Country Bank’s Mount Isa office to become Managing Director and later Chairman of the Board.
Our Group Chief Executive Officer, Aaron Newman, praised Bruno’s significant contribution to the culture and success of the organisation, and recognised that his general contribution to communities throughout Queensland, make him a worthy recipient of the award.
“When Bruno commenced his career, Queensland Country had around 6,200 Members and two branches. Under his leadership and guidance, the organisation has grown to have over 100,000 Members and 27 branches across the state. But perhaps his biggest influence has been his unwavering commitment to putting the needs of our Members and communities at the forefront of everything we do. It’s shaped the way we do things at Queensland Country and will be a lasting legacy,” Mr Newman said.
On reflecting on his career, Bruno identified the member-owned operating structure as one of the keys to his longevity in the industry.
“The members owning the organisation and the culture that we have bred makes it very rewarding. It means we put people first, that’s all the members in the communities we represent and of course our fantastic staff. We’re genuinely there to help people live better lives”, he said.
In addition to his work in leading the banking and health insurance organisation, Mr Cullen has also been a significant contributor to local sporting and community organisations. He played and coached rugby league and touch football in Mount Isa for many years before making the move to Brisbane to lead the Broncos. Throughout this time he devoted substantial effort to mentoring and advising young players, initially as a coach, but as his career at the Broncos developed, the focus turned to helping players overcome the challenges of becoming a professional athlete and the transition to life after football.
“Working for a locally owned banking organisation, if was just a natural fit for myself and many other people from Queensland Country to get involved with whatever local activities we were interested in. We were a part of the local community through our work and would often be called on to provide sponsorship assistance, so it was a natural transition to become involved as much as possible in what was happening. For me that was playing and coaching, but my experience in banking also helped me provide guidance on some broader life skills,” Mr Cullen explained.
According to Mr Cullen, receiving the Order of Australia award was an unexpected yet exciting honour.
“I’m very proud to be recognised with the award. I think the highlight for me has been seeing the reaction of the family, friends and colleagues that have assisted me throughout my career. The support of those around you is so crucial and I feel the award is also a reflection of the people that have helped me along the way,” he said.
Mr Cullen stepped down as Chair of the Queensland Country Bank Board in April 2020 and will remain a director on the Board until the company’s Annual General Meeting in November.