Sir Nicholas Shehadie, former chairman of SBS, has died at the age of 92.
Born in Sydney of Lebanese descent, Shehadie developed an early interest in sport and was picked for the Randwick Rugby Club at age 15. He went on to play 30 Tests and 100 games for Australia, and captained the Wallabies.
After his sporting career he moved into public office, serving as Deputy Lord Mayor for the City of Sydney from 1969, and then Lord Mayor of Sydney from 1973 to 1975. He was knighted in recognition of his mayoral service in 1976.
From 1981 to 1999, Shehadie was chairman of SBS, leading the multicultural broadcaster through its early years as well as defending SBS against a proposed merger with ABC in the mid-1980s and seeing SBS television go from a Sydney and Melbourne channel to a national network.
SBS managing director Michael Ebeid today paid tribute to Shehadie:
Deeply saddened to hear the news of Sir Nicholas Shehadie AC OBE, passing away. Was the @SBS Chairman 1981-99, 18 yrs and instrumental in our formation. A great Australian on many levels. Thoughts are with Marie Bashir and their family.
— Michael Ebeid (@michaelebeid) February 11, 2018
Over his career, Shehadie had also been chairman of the Sydney Cricket Ground, TAFE and NSW Rugby Union and president of the Australian Rugby Union.
The NSW Government is offering his family a state funeral.
Sir Nicholas Shehadie is survived by wife, former NSW governor Marie Bashir, and three children.