In his role as CEO of Swisse, Radek Sali was instrumental in transforming the Australian brand into a global phenomenon.
He holds a Bachelor of Arts (Cinema Studies) from La Trobe University, and is a member of the Class of 1997.
Joining Swisse in 2005 and then assuming the role of CEO in 2008, Radek employed his entrepreneurial skills to totally overhaul the vitamin company.
“We had two products when I started – a men’s and women’s multivitamin. And that was it," Radek said.
"Our goal was to make people healthier and happier. It’s actually the core foundations that we’ve built our business on – it’s the people, principles and passion coming before profit."
In 2012, Swisse was named the ‘Most Successful Business of the Year’ in the prestigious 2012 BRW Private Business Awards. Radek was also recognised as the GQ Businessman of the Year and the CEO Magazine’s Pharmaceutical Executive of the Year. Swisse was also recognised as a great place to work in the top 25 BRW list two years running.
After negotiating the sale of Swisse to Hong Kong publicly-listed business Biostime Group Ltd for around $1.7 billion, Radek founded Light Warrior Group - a positive, principle driven investment group. He also started the Lightfolk Foundation and through this, Lightfolk ltd - a not-for-profit school of wisdom.
Radek stayed on as CEO of Swisse until the end of 2016, when he stepped aside to concentrate on Light Warrior,
In addition to these roles, Radek is Chair of Food & Wine Victoria and Made By Cow, as well as a Director for Igniting Change, Hydralyte, myDNA, Stratosphere, Wanderlust, Hawthorn Football Club and BTeam Australasia member.
Radek’s father, a professor of surgery, and his mother, a medical scientist, instilled in him a passion for health and wellness. This passion coupled with Radek’s enviable business intelligence developed through his eleven years at Village Roadshow and time at Swisse made him a strong force in the complementary medicines industry.
But it was not the plan of Radek's parents for their son to follow an entrepreneurial career.
“I’d come from a great school where your life’s organised and structured and your parents are paying a lot of dollars in fees to make sure that they get an outcome their looking for. An outcome my parents were looking for was for me to do medicine or law," he said.
"I didn’t do well enough at school to qualify for that. La Trobe presented as an option where I could study arts and study law as well as cinema studies and politics too. Initially, I actually didn’t get into cinema studies with La Trobe. My mother chose to call the school … and the University made way for me."
As for his advice to students, Radek says to “embrace the opportunity”.
“Embrace everything that the [La Trobe] represents,” he said.
“This makes you. These are the foundations of you becoming an adult and a successful person. So, enjoy it.”
Last updated: 8th May 2019