Adam Fennessy named Victorian public sector commissioner

By Shannon Jenkins

Tuesday June 30, 2020


Former bureaucrat Adam Fennessy has been named the next Victorian public sector commissioner.

Government services minister Danny Pearson on Tuesday said Fennessy would bring “invaluable” executive experience to the role, which involves driving excellence in policy, service and administration across the public sector, and maintaining the sector’s professionalism and integrity.

He will also be made a member of the Victorian Secretaries Board.

Fennessy left the public service 2017 to take up a position at consulting firm EY, where he continues to advise on public sector infrastructure across the Oceania region.

His most recent public sector role was secretary of the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning. Prior to that, he was an executive director at the Department of Premier and Cabinet.

Read more: Adam Fennessy to leave public service

Fennessy has previously served as deputy president of the Victorian branch of the Institute of Public Administration Australia, a board member of Infrastructure Victoria, and an advisory board member to Women and Leadership Australia.

Adam Fennessy

He is also a member of the Male Champions of Change network, and in 2018 received a Public Service Medal.

Fennessy was one of the first men in the VPS’ senior executive to embrace flexible work arrangements to take care of his children.

In 2016, he told The Mandarin he had received “a fair bit of pushback”.

“The view at that time was, frankly, why doesn’t your wife worry about that, and I said well no, that’s important to me,” he said.

“I ended up getting to deputy secretary level with that flexibility.”

As secretary, he pushed for increased female representation in the public service, through gender-equal selection panels and a gender-equal candidate shortlist when recruiting.

Read more: Adam Fennessy: how — and why — to say sorry in government

Julia Griffith has been acting as VPS commissioner since Paul Grimes left the position in January. Fennessy will commence in the role next month, with Griffith to continue as deputy commissioner.

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