Building Legacies – The University of Sydney

Carracter attributes the measure of his success to motivation, hard work and encouragement, but a shrewd understanding of people and an eye for the future also shines through.

Whatever the explanation, the result has been an extraordinarily diverse career that has seen him manage huge portfolios of assets for the Packers and lead Australia to volleyball gold at the 2000 Olympics as a CEO and Director of Volleyball Australia.

Carraccer is clearly not one to sit idly by on his laurels. He is co-owner of Scape – Australia’s largest student accommodation and residential property portfolio, managing their legal, compliance and investor relations; President of Volleyball Australia; and director of a number of organizations including the Olympic Foundation, the Australian Olympic Committee and the International Education Association of Australia.

Exploitation law

After several years at the Securities Commission, in 2001 Carracter took on a role at Minter Ellison, then Australia’s largest law firm. In a classic case of being in the right place at the right time, her first day coincided with Christmas vacation and a very empty office. Given the lack of staff, his mentor Leigh Brown asked him to go to Kerry Packer’s office and “take care of Kerry because you don’t have vacations and he doesn’t respect vacations.”

Carracter got on well with the team at the Packer family office, and the incident led him to spend the next five years working almost exclusively for them, becoming their private family counselor, general counsel for the group of Consolidated Press Holdings and a member of their investment management committee.

It’s a hallmark of Carracter that he dismisses his job with the Packers as almost a coincidence, a humble boast: “Somehow I bluffed my way into it.” James and Kerry are both pretty amazing people, but neither of them is necessarily a good judge of character, as evidenced by the fact that they employ me.

His time with the Packers gave him the skills to understand and manage large-scale assets including ski areas, aquariums, gaming complexes and real estate platforms. When Carracter saw a gap in the market for investing in student and residential rental housing, he left James Packer to co-found private equity investment group, Telopea Capital Partners, in 2009.

“Although I was never admitted to practice as a barrister in Australia, my legal skills have been instrumental in my career,” says Carraccer. “When business is done in the language of the law, it helps you understand your opportunities in this space. The kinds of negotiation learnings that come from marrying what I’ve done in sport with my legal skills and business connections have been extremely valuable.

The thought of becoming homeless may have disturbed Carraccer’s sleep during his college days, but since co-founding Scape in 2013, he’s been busy providing housing for others. In the same way that WeWork seeks to disrupt office environments and the way people work, Scape hopes to change the way students live while studying.

Student-centered

“Almost all student accommodation is substandard, as it is designed according to traditional residential planning rules so that people can live there for a year at a time,” Carraccer explains. “At Scape, we create a student-centered community at the doorstep of the educational institution with gymnasiums, ballet areas, Pilates areas, cinemas, kitchen, dining rooms, but also with each person having their own independent living unit.We want to design living environments as exciting as the learning environment;built and owned by us forever.

It is clearly a formula that works. From its beginnings as a two-person company in 2013, Scape Australia now has 450 employees and approximately $10 billion in assets worldwide. Their portfolio has 16,000 beds – including 15,000 in student accommodation – and another 9,000 beds under construction or development in Australia.

Carracter believes, however, that success should not come at the expense of social responsibility, with Scape committing to provide 5% of its homes to social and affordable housing. When the pandemic impacted the number of international students in residence, Scape turned to social housing, offering 2,500 places over the past 18 months, including a dedicated facility for women and their families fleeing poverty. domestic violence.

When the Taliban returned to power in September, Carraccer was approached by the Victorian government to house 1,400 Afghan evacuees after quarantine. Fittingly, among the evacuees were the Afghan women’s soccer team and its coaches.

“These people are an inspiration in terms of human resilience. Some of them come from very wealthy and highly educated families, but they had to leave it all behind,” he says, although he is quick to say that the exercise was not completely philanthropic. “We always try to ensure some level of cost recovery, but it has been a privilege to be able to offer these facilities when they were otherwise empty. Our buildings have been perfectly designed in some respects, as we have a mix of multi-bedroom apartments and studios, with communal and shared facilities.

Carracter believes that being a leader was not a role he chose but a role he was pushed into, made his own by his commitment and determination. Throughout the process, he sharpened his belief in the value of inheritance.

“At the end of the day, we are never judged on our annual reports or what we have accomplished during our reign of responsibility or custody. The proof of your success is in those lingering nuances of your existence that define what people can do after you’re gone,” says Carraccer. “Whether it’s buildings, partnerships or volleyball, if I’ve allowed someone to step in and improve it to be better than it was, then it’s is a success.”

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