Movers & shakers: who’s sleigh-in’ it?

By Shannon Jenkins

December 13, 2019

The latest senior public sector appointments from across the country.

APS senior executives

Band 4

Rachel Noble

Rachel Noble has been named the next director-general of the Australian Signals Directorate, starting in February. Her extensive experience in intelligence strongly positions her to lead the agency, according to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, and Defence Minister Linda Reynolds.

Noble most recently led the Australian Cyber Security Centre. She is the first woman to be appointed to lead the ASD, and is the first woman to head a major intelligence agency in Australia. She replaces Lieutenant General John Frewen, who has been acting in the role. He will return to his position of principal deputy-director general.

Band 3

Letitia Hope

Letitia Hope has been named deputy chief executive officer of operations and delivery in the National Indigenous Australians Agency. She has previously held the position of assistant secretary, health and community service programmes in the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

Band 2

Also in the National Indigenous Australians Agency, Robert Willmett has been named group manager of operations and delivery. He was formerly in the Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business.

Michael Willard and Derek Bopping have both been appointed first assistant secretaries in the Department of Home Affairs.

Over in the soon-to-be-slashed Department of Communications and the Arts, Sarah Vandenbroek has been named chief operating officer.

Band 1

Stanisa Spasojevic has been appointed assistant commissioner, public groups and international division in the Australian Taxation Office.

Cheryl-Anne Navarro

Cheryl-Anne Navarro and Ross Schafer have both been named branch managers in the Department of Social Services.

Jerome Brown has taken the role of clerk assistant in the Department of the House of Representatives. He was formerly director, international & parliamentary relations.

Samantha Montenegro is a new assistant secretary at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. She was previously chief risk and compliance officer.

David Bahlen has been appointed assistant director in the Director of Public Prosecutions’ office, along with Gina Nott, and Rebekah O’Meagher.

NSW Public Service Commission

Sandra McPhee

Sandra McPhee has been appointed chair of the NSW Public Service Commission Advisory Board, commencing January 1. She replaces outgoing chair Professor Peter Shergold. McPhee has been a member of the board since 2016. She has extensive experience as a non-executive director and senior executive in a range of major public, Commonwealth and state government, and not-for-profit organisations including utilities, energy, health, retail, tourism and aviation.

In 2003, she was awarded the Centenary Medal for her contribution to the community through business leadership. In 2013, she was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia for significant service to business and the community through leadership and advisory roles.

Shergold — a former head of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet — has been chair of the board since its inception in 2011. Under his leadership, the board has contributed to a range of initiatives including the creation of the Government Sector Employment Act 2013 (NSW), the sector-wide People Matter Employee Survey, and the NSW Public Sector Ethical Framework.

Shergold thanked his fellow board members and PSC staff.

“My time at the PSC has been rewarding. I am proud to have contributed to the changes that I have seen enacted as a result of our collective endeavours, and I wish the commission well for the future.”

NSW education

Peter Shergold

But he’s not done yet. Shergold will be the new chair of the NSW Education Standards Authority Board. He will be joined by Paul Martin as NESA’s CEO and six new board members.

He said NESA has a crucial role to play at an exciting time of significant reform in education.

“The delivery of the curriculum review in 2020 will provide NSW with a once in a generation opportunity to revitalise the school curriculum so our students, community and economy continue to thrive well into the 21st century,” he said.

“We know world-class syllabuses, assessment, teaching and school environments are the components needed for our students to achieve their very best.”

He replaces current chair, Tom Alegounarias, who is retiring after 30 years in education.

Grattan Institute

Danielle Wood

Danielle Wood has been appointed the new chief executive officer of Grattan Institute. She will take over from Professor John Daley after he retires in July 2020.

She is currently Grattan’s budget policy and institutional reform program director, and has previously worked as principal economist and mergers director at the ACCC, senior consultant at NERA economic consulting, and as a senior research economist at the Productivity Commission.

Finance ethics

Will Hamilton

Will Hamilton has been appointed as a part-time director to the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority.

Hamilton is currently the Commonwealth representative on the Professional Standards Council, as well as the managing director of Hamilton Wealth. He has held numerous finance roles including general manager of wealth services at NAB.

He is joined on the board by the chair, Catherine Walter, and members Mark Brimble, Dr Simon Longstaff, Carolyn Bond, Elissa Freeman, Deborah Kent, Louise Lakomy, and Catriona Lowe.

Whittlesea council

The Victorian government has announced it will soon appoint an independent monitor to oversee the Whittlesea council following the sacking of Simon Overland as council CEO.

Simon Overland

He is the third chief executive to be fired by the council in the last four years, amid ongoing allegations of a toxic workplace culture.

Overland took leave last month due to “health and wellbeing” concerns. He held senior roles with Victoria Police during the force’s use of Lawyer X Nicola Gobbo as an informer. He was also secretary of the Department of Justice in Tasmania for a term.

Minister for Local Government Adem Somyurek made the announcement  following a request by the chief municipal inspector, who is investigating the council.

The monitor will assess the council’s processes and policies in relation to the appointment of the council’s new Chief Executive Officer; councillor interaction with council staff; the maintenance of a safe workplace; the handling of confidential information; the effective delivery of services to the Whittlesea community; and council decision making. It will also work with the Council to ensure sound and effective governance in light of the instability in senior management over the past three years.

Infrastructure Australia

Mark Balnaves

Four new members have been appointed to the Infrastructure Australia Board: Mark Balnaves, John Fitzgerald, Marion Fulker and Graham Quirk. They will provide advice on Australia’s infrastructure priorities and policy reforms.

Balnaves is currently a Director of Evans + Ayers and has previously advised on a number of major projects across Australia including most recently the new Royal Adelaide Hospital. Fitzgerald was formerly interim CEO of Infrastructure Australia. He is currently a director of the Victorian Funds Management Corporation. Fulker is the inaugural chief executive of the Committee for Perth Ltd and an Adjunct Senior Research Fellow at The University of Western Australia. Quirk previously served as the 16th Lord Mayor of Brisbane.

Australian War Memorial

Matthew Anderson has been appointed as the next Director of the Australian War Memorial. Anderson is a veteran himself, the current Deputy High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, and has earned as Public Service Medal in 2011 for leading the Australian government’s consular and humanitarian response to the September 2009 tsunami in Samoa. He replaces Dr Brendan Nelson AO, who will conclude in the role at the end of this year.

National science advisory group

Professor Fiona Wood

Professor Fiona Wood has been appointed to the National Science and Technology Council for a four year term.

A former Australian of the Year, Wood is Director of the Burns Service of Western Australia and co-founder of the Fiona Wood Foundation.

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said Wood’s background as a burns surgeon and researcher would be “invaluable” to the NSTC.

“Professor Wood’s greatest contribution and enduring legacy is the development and commercialisation of the ‘spray-on skin’ technique, which greatly reduces permanent scarring in burns victims and is now used worldwide,” she said.

Wood replaces Professor Ian Frazer, who has served as a member of the NSTC and its precursor, the Commonwealth Science Council, since 2014.

Visit Victoria

Brendan McClements

Brendan McClements will serve as interim CEO of Visit Victoria. He led the Victorian Major Events Company for a decade until 2016, and most recently worked as global head of events for TLA Worldwide, and as a partner at Left Field Live, an international major event business.

The appointment follows the resignation of Visit Victoria’s incumbent chief executive Peter Bingeman. The Visit Victoria board will undertake a recruitment process to appoint a permanent CEO in early 2020.

Movers & shakers will return in 2020. Have a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

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