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National Disability Insurance Agency CEO quits to lead privately owned service provider

Empty workplace in office, Office for boss

National Disability Insurance Agency chief executive Robert De Luca has suddenly resigned with immediate effect, leaving it up to the next federal government to appoint a successor.

“It has been a privilege to serve participants and to progress this important Scheme of huge national significance,” De Luca said in a statement. “I have great confidence in the future of the Scheme.”

Robert De Luca

Vicki Rundle, the NDIA’s deputy CEO for government, communications and stakeholder engagement, will be acting CEO until after a new appointment is made after the election. The NDIA board released a joint comment:

“It is with regret that we have accepted Mr De Luca’s resignation. Rob has been an inspiring leader who has attracted and built a highly capable executive team, which has underpinned a tripling of the number of participants as the Scheme has rolled out.”

Vicki Rundle

While the choice of a new chief executive cannot be made while the government is in caretaker mode, the board said it would begin the search immediately.

“I am advised that Mr De Luca has notified the board that he will become CEO of Zenitas Healthcare, a community health organisation, which has recently been acquired by the private equity firm of Adamantern Capital Management and Liverpool Partners,” Social Services Minister Paul Fletcher said in a statement released just after 7pm on Tuesday.

“On behalf of the Morrison government, I thank Mr De Luca for his significant contribution to the NDIA since his appointment as NDIA CEO on 28th August 2017.”

In previous roles De Luca was managing director of BankWest, CEO of ASB Group Investments, and a senior executive with Commonwealth Bank.

Zenitas Healthcare appears to be on the up and up, having expanded considerably itself in recent years, including through acquisitions such as Australian Home Care Services and Beleura Health Solutions in 2018, before its December takeover by Guardian Alphabet, which in turn is owned by the two firms mentioned by Fletcher.

Adamantem Capital managing director Rob Koczkar said the company was focused on cornering the Australian market in “attendant and allied health care focused on clients in the disability and aged care sector” when he announced the purchase of Zenitas, which was previously listed on the stock exchange.

Liverpool Partners was a foundation investor in Zenitas and its managing director Jonathan Lim said the National Disability Insurance Scheme roll-out presented a major opportunity, in the same statement.

“The healthcare landscape is undergoing a major transformation as consumer-directed care models become more widely implemented, disability support funding is significantly increased under the NDIS and funding pressures escalate with Australia’s demographic changes. Community-based care has a significant role to play in meeting demand and alleviating funding pressure.”

In December, De Luca was interviewed by Kirsten Deane from the Every Australian Counts campaign:

Author Bio

Stephen Easton

Stephen Easton is the associate editor at The Mandarin based in Canberra. He's previously reported for Canberra CityNews and worked on industry titles for The Intermedia Group.