Non-bank CEO sets fundraising record

Industry bands together in support, with direct competitor chipping in largest outside donation

Non-bank CEO sets fundraising record


By Madison Utley

Yesterday afternoon, Pepper Money’s Australia and New Zealand CEO Mario Rehayem had his head shaved as the grand finale of his fundraising efforts for the Leukaemia Foundation.

Rehayem currently holds the very top position of the 16,000 individual fundraisers registered for the Leukemia Foundation’s ‘World’s Greatest Shave’ campaign across the country.

The CEO has received nearly 100 donations to date, smashing through both his initial $10,000 goal and revised target of $20,000.

At the time of publishing, Rehayem has raised over $36,000. 

The funds will go to providing a variety of services to those diagnosed with blood cancer and their families, free of charge, including accommodation while they are undergoing treatment, transport to medical appointments, and other practical and emotional support, in addition to further investment in vital research.

Just before the shave took place, Pepper Money made a $10,000 donation. Prior to that, the largest contribution came from non-bank lender and Pepper competitor Resimac, with a gift of $3,100.

As such, Resimac CEO Scott McWilliam, who Rehayem dubbed his “closest friend in the industry”, had the honour of taking the first shave.

Pepper Money A/NZ CEO Mario Rehayem & Resimac CEO Scott McWilliam

“There isn’t anyone I know who hasn’t been impacted by some form of cancer. It’s touched a couple of our workers recently as well, which is probably my main reason for doing this. It’s just such a good cause,” said Rehayem.

“This is actually the first time I’ve taken the advantage and opportunity of reaching out to my network for donations. I’ve always been the one that’s donating – but people have really gotten behind this.”

Australian Finance Group (AFG), NextGen.Net, and Better Mortgage Management were among the companies within the industry to make a show of support for Rehayem.

On an individual level, Aussie CEO James Symond and NAB’s Bill Constantinidis also gave of their own funds. 

As the Leukemia Foundation spokesperson put it, “Blood cancer does not discriminate.”

It can develop in anyone at any age, from children through to working adults with families, all the way to older Australians.

While there is already a staggering 110,000 Australians living with blood cancer today, this figure is forecasted to more than double in the next 15 years.

That breaks down to 41 Australians diagnosed and 20 dying every day.

If this is the first you’ve heard of Rehayem’s journey, it’s not too late to contribute; donations can still be made here.

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