03 Nov 2023 | 2 mins

Virgin CEOs, past and present, trade trophy homes - Australian Financial Review

Virgin CEOs, past and present, trade trophy homes - Australian Financial Review

Virgin boss Jayne Hrdlicka has put the ‘For Sale’ sign up on her luxury Melbourne base, with $17 million to $18 million price hopes for the five-bedroom, three-bathroom Hawthorn home.

Like her airline Virgin Australia – which recorded its first annual profit in over a decade – Ms Hrdlicka is expecting a tidy windfall from her foray into Melbourne real estate, after paying $13 million for the Kooyongkoot Road mansion in 2016. Hrdlicka bought the property from Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation chair Patricia Cross.

However, it’s not the first time Ms Hrdlicka – also the former CEO of a2 Milk– has listed the property, briefly launching it for sale about 18 months ago before it was taken off the market.

The re-listing comes after a difficult year for the Kansas-born, Brisbane-based CEO and mother of two after her husband Jason Gaudin passed away following a battle with cancer in May this year.

The 2016 purchase timed with the beginning of Hrdlicka’s enduring connection with the Victorian capital following her appointment to the board of Tennis Australia. In 2017, Hrdlicka was elected the organisation’s first female chair, and recently re-elected until 2025.

While Ms Hrdlicka’s speeches have become a staple of Australian Open coverage, the tennis enthusiast may be looking for alternative accommodation come January’s tournament, considering the campaign for her grand Melbourne abode concludes on November 30.

Hrdlicka has enlisted Forbes’ selling agent Robert Fletcher to capitalise on the demand for prestige homes across Melbourne’s top end. Mr Fletcher said the vendor hadn’t lived in the property ‘for a while’, and has been planning to sell when the time is right.

“The market suggests it’s a good time to list,” Mr Fletcher said, noting pent-up demand for high-end property across Melbourne, especially given the “property’s scale and triple AAA location”.

Designed by architect Harry Browse Gibbs back in 1886 as home to one of Melbourne’s prominent merchant families, the grand Victorian-era home sits on over 2000-square metres, and features a pool, tennis court, billiard room, cellar and marble kitchen.

The two-storey mansion has been divided into an upstairs accommodation zone of five bedrooms, while downstairs is billed as “dedicated to the art of living”. This lower level features a formal sitting area, study, expansive formal dining room with a fireside retreat.

Ms Hrdlicka continues to helm Australia’s second-biggest airline carrier as it prepares to relist on the Australian stock exchange next year after, four years on from its 2020 collapse and subsequent takeover by private equity outfit Bain Capital.