John W.H. Denton AO

Partner and Chief Executive Officer.

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John W.H. Denton AO

John W.H. Denton AO is a Partner and the Chief Executive Officer of Corrs Chambers Westgarth, Australia’s leading independent law firm.

Under John’s leadership and strategic direction, Corrs has become the most globally connected law firm based in Australia, and was voted as the number one law firm in both Australia and the APAC in the 2016 Legal 500 Client Intelligence Report.

A global leader in three arenas; a legal expert in the areas of government, workplace relations, and international trade and investment; a national business leader and an international adviser on global policy. His advice is sought by the nation’s most prominent corporations and by governments and international bodies alike.

Appointed as an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 2015 by the Governor-General in his capacity as Chancellor of the Order of Australia. He was recognised in 2015 “for his distinguished service to business and commerce, particularly in the legal profession, to the visual and performing arts sectors, to social welfare and the rights of refugees”. This award represents the highest recognition for outstanding achievement and service in Australia.

John is Chair of the Business Council of Australia’s (BCA) Global Engagement Taskforce; board member of Asialink and The Australian Ballet; Chairman (emeritus) of the Experts Group on Trade and Investment in Indonesia and a founding member of the Australia China CEO Roundtable meetings.

He is one of the two originating members of the B20 - the business reference group of the G20, and was a member of the Australian B20 Leadership Group.

In June 2016, John was named as First Vice-Chairman of the Paris based International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). The appointment is the first time that an Australian has held such a position. He is also a member of the ICC G20 CEO Advisory Group, the primary body for establishing the direction of business input within the G20 process.

A key member of the Australian Government advisory panel overseeing the development of the ‘Australia in the Asian Century’ White Paper, John was also on the Government’s Cabinet sub-committee for the White Paper review process published in October 2012. He later became a member of the Strategic Advisory Board advising the Government on implementation and emerging policy issues.

John was a government appointed panel member of the Independent Review of Aid Effectiveness and has been Chairman of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees Australia for more than a decade. He is a former diplomat, has a double degree in Arts and Law, and is a Harvard Business School alumnus.

He is recognised as one of the best labour law practitioners in the Asia Pacific by Asialaw Leading Lawyers Survey and one of Australia’s best government and trade lawyers in the Best Lawyers peer survey.

John's Expertise

“Corrs has been blessed with great leadership and its commercial, client-led focus is second to none” Australian Financial Review

John's Leadership

  • B20 Financing Growth & Infrastructure Taskforce Co-Chair
  • International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) First Vice Chairman
    Executive Board Member
    G20 CEO Advisory Group Member
  • Australian B20 Leadership Group Member
  • Business Council of Australia (BCA) Chairman - Global Engagement Taskforce
  • Australia for UNHCR Chair
  • Teach for Australia Board Member
  • Asialink - The University of Melbourne Board Member
  • Arts Centre Foundation Governor
  • The Australian Ballet Board Member
  • Best Lawyers Advisory Board Board Member
  • Australian American Leadership Dialogue Participant
  • Georgetown University - Center for Australian, New Zealand and Pacific Studies Board Member
  • Experts Group on Trade and Investment in Indonesia Chairman (Emeritus)
  • Large Law Firm Group (LLFG) Director
  • Law Institute of Victoria Member
  • Harvard Business School Alumnus

What others say

  • “Best Lawyer - Employee Benefits Law” Best Lawyers Peer Review, 2013-2018
  • “Best Lawyer - Trade Law” Best Lawyers Peer Review, 2010-2018
  • “Best Lawyer - Government Practice” Best Lawyers Peer Review, 2009-2018
  • “Such a position [International Chamber of Commerce appointment] will ensure him influence beyond our borders and entrench his status as a power player par excellence.” The Australian Financial Review Magazine – Power List 2015
  • “A prominent figure in ... business circles ... a consummate networker with connections across the spectrum, from the corporate world, to the arts and into politics.” Fairfax Press
  • “John Denton is a man on a mission” Australian Legal Business
  • “Best Lawyer - Labour” Asialaw Leading Lawyers Survey
  • “Due to his profile and the advancements [Corrs] have made, they sit comfortably now among the top legal firms in Australia, in many ways punching above their weight.” John Eales, Learning from Legends Business
  • “The Denton web of influence extends far and wide” Australian Legal Business
  • “The legal profession has a new male champion of change in John Denton” The Australian
  • “A doyen of Australian policy in China” The Australian
  • “The firm is known for its thought leadership role in the Asia Pacific” Australasian Legal Business
  • “Denton the architect of a massive restructure of the firm that has seen it broaden its expertise and engage in high- level regional economic discussions” Lawyers Weekly
  • “Melbourne Government Lawyer of the Year” Best Lawyers Peer Review, 2014
  • “Hot 40 Lawyer - Trailblazers - The intrepid lawyers breaking new ground in the legal industry” Australasian Lawyer Magazine, May 2014
  • “Long one of the most influential lawyers in the country, Denton is the personification of his vision for a law firm.” Australasian Lawyer Magazine

John's Thinking

John's Speeches

  • Global Foreign Direct Investment: What Is New? 8 December 2016
    On 8 December, Corrs Partner and CEO John W.H. Denton AO participated in a panel session entitled ‘Global FDI: What is New?’ at the BOAO Forum for Asia Melbourne Conference: The Future of Globalisation.
  • Managing the Complexity of Asian Geopolitics 28 November 2016
    On 28 November, Corrs Partner and CEO John W.H. Denton AO spoke at the Horasis Asia Meeting on how the region’s many cultural differences can be faced, understood and acknowledged to derive a better future for all.

Leadership Speeches

A complete archive of speeches delivered by John W.H. Denton and other members of Corrs' leadership.
All Leadership Speeches »