Prominent Australian businessman and retailer

Career Timeline

1963: 18-year-old Lew sets up Voyager Solo and becomes a clothing supplier to Myer Emporium.

1979: Lew buys the John Martin department store chain in South Australia, forming the retail footprint that eventually became a stake in Myer

1983: Lew helps rescue Myer family by investing $32 million in Myer Emporium.

1985: Joins Myer board. GJ Coles & Co merges with Myer Emporium. Lew ends up with a 10 percent stake worth $400 million. Name changes to Coles Myer in 1986.

1989: Lew’s Premier Investments vehicle buys Frank Lowy’s (Westfield) and Joseph Brender’s (Katies) Coles Myer shares for $450 million.

1990 Yannon, a $2 shelf company owned by First Boston, buys shares in Premier Investments. The shares were issued by Premier to help fund the $450 million block of Coles Myer shares. Yannon’s potential losses on the purchase were guaranteed by Coles Myer. In 1994, when Yannon’s Premier shares are sold to GPG, Coles Myer loses $18 million.

1991: November: Lew takes over as Coles Myer chairman from Brian Quinn.

1995: ASC (now ASIC) launches Yannon inquiry. Nobby Clark replaces Solomon Lew as chairman.

2000: Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions decides not to lay charges against any party following ASIC’s Yannon probe.

2002: Lew launches campaign for re-election as a director and fails.

2004: December: Lew approaches Kohlberg Kravis Roberts to discuss takeover/break-up of Coles.

2006: March 13: Myer department stores sold for $1.35 billion to TPG-Newbridge Capital and the Myer family.

April: Lew meets George Roberts from KKR in Melbourne to discuss takeover/break-up options for Coles. August 17: KKR consortium approaches Coles offering $14.50 a share.

October 19: Coles rejects second KKR approach at $15.25 a share.

2007: April 2: Lew’s Premier Investments sells its 5.9 per cent stake in Coles to Wesfarmers for $16.47 a share.

July 2: Wesfarmers wins Coles with $20.8 billion recommended offer.

2008: August: Premier Investments completes an $800-million cash-and-scrip takeover of fashion retailer Just Group, which includes iconic Australian retail brands such as Just Jeans, Jay Jays, Portmans and Peter Alexander.

The career history has been sourced from: Pamela Williams, Australian Financial Review, 29 May 2009, (this link is behind the AFR pay wall)