Can Australia’s richest woman stay under the radar?

captureVERY little is known about the reclusive Vicky Teoh, and only a handful of people even know what she looks like, but the veil of mystery surrounding Australia’s wealthiest woman may soon be lifted as sources close to her say a reluctant step into the limelight is just around the corner.

With a jaw-dropping personal fortune of some £300m, the 60-year-old media mogul has been fiercely private. So much so that it is said she has been able to stroll the shopping malls of Melbourne and regularly enjoy cups of tea in the city’s charming back-street cafes without anyone realising she possessed a fortune large enough to overshadow that of fellow self-made Australian woman Nicole Kidman. The Hollywood actress, incidentally, is currently the country’s fourth-richest woman (£240m).

Experts are suggesting Teoh’s identity is about to become more public as she attempts to begin a programme of investing in Australia’s expanding tech industry. There’s talk that Malaysian-born Teoh may even be preparing to front a Dragons Den-style reality television show, but Australian TV executives shouldn’t hold their breath too long over whether or not the country’s richest woman will be stepping out of the shadows any time soon.

The path to vast wealth for Vicky Teoh began when she and her husband David left their native Malaysia to start a new life in Sydney in 1986. Both were utterly immersed in the fledgling world of computers, eventually branching out into telecoms. Their background in the new media set them up perfectly to almost corner the market with early companies which rocketed in tandem with public demand for smarter communications.

Eventually, Vicky Teoh was instrumental in forming the internet firm TPG Telecom in 2008 with the reverse takeover of SP Telemedia. With husband David acting as an executive chairman, and Vicky owning an 18% stake, her opening shares of £87m spiralled to a mind-boggling £270m within five years.

Critics have often accused Vicky Teoh of making her fortune on the coat-tails of her husband, but that almost resentful insinuation couldn’t be further from the truth. According to insiders, she pulls most of the strings in the boardroom. We will, no doubt, learn more about the publicity averse Teohs in the next few years. After all, you can’t have your public company’s bottom line catapult from $200m to $2bn in less than five years and expect to stay out of the limelight.