Movers & shakers: DFAT names Australia’s first female ambassador to Indonesia

By Shannon Jenkins

April 16, 2021

The latest senior public sector appointments from across the country. (Image: The Mandarin)

The latest senior public sector appointments from across the country.

Senior Executive Service

Adrian Hudson

Band 3

Adrian Hudson has been appointed as chief operating officer at the Department of Social Services. He acted in the role last year, but was most recently first assistant secretary, infrastructure, at the Department of Defence.

Paul Jackson

Band 1

Debra Arnold has been named assistant secretary at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Emma McCarthy has taken on a Band 1 role at Defence.

Paul Jackson has been appointed head of national research and data at Cancer Australia.

Do you know a senior public servant who has recently taken on a new role? Email to let us know.

APS Hierarchy and Classification review

Dr Heather Smith

Former commonwealth secretaries Dr Heather Smith and Finn Pratt have been appointed to an independent panel that will oversee a review of the APS Classification Framework (SES and non-SES levels), and its application to best support an effective workforce well equipped to deliver outcomes. Prominent businesswoman Kathryn Fagg has also joined the panel.

The APS Hierarchy and Classification review will address a key recommendation of the 2019 Thodey Review of the APS.

It will explore ways to: streamline decision-making structures, providing flexibility to respond to changes including new ways of working; promote a culture of delegations and decision-making being made at the lowest level possible; ensure spans of control reflect the type of work being managed and jobs are classified according to work level; and simplify and clarify workforce management guidelines.

The panel will provide a final report to the APS commissioner in the second half of 2021.

Diplomatic appointments

Penny Williams

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade deputy secretary Penny Williams has been appointed as Australia’s first female ambassador to Indonesia. She was previously Australia’s first ambassador for women and girls, and has served overseas as high commissioner to Malaysia. She will take over from Gary Quinlan.

Meanwhile, Rowan Ainsworth has been named as Australia’s next consul-general in Kolkata. Ainsworth is a DFAT career officer, and was most recently counsellor, Australian Embassy, Paris. She has previously served overseas in Moscow and Tokyo. She will replace Andrew Ford.

Peter Truswell is Australia’s next consul-general in Mumbai, replacing Greg Wilcock. A DFAT career officer, Truswell was most recently deputy head of mission, Australian Embassy, Kabul. He has previously served overseas in Seoul and Geneva.

NSW Education

Michael Waterhouse

The NSW Department of Education’s general counsel, Michael Waterhouse, will leave the department later this month to pursue other opportunities.

Waterhouse has the department’s “very best wishes for a successful future”, a spokesperson told The Mandarin.

“As general counsel, he has led the Department’s Legal Services directorate since 2001, providing expert and authoritative advice on the law relating to education and the department’s wider functions,” they said.

Another source said Waterhouse’s departure was “a huge loss of leadership and knowledge in NSW Education”.

Chief legal officer Sarah Hargans will act in the role until a permanent appointment is made.


Catherine Walter

Catherine Walter will continue in her role as the part-time chair of the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA).

In December, the government announced the standard-making functions of FASEA would be moved into Treasury and the remaining elements of FASEA’s role, including administering the adviser examination, would be incorporated into the Financial Services and Credit Panel within the Australian Securities and Investment Commission.

Financial services minister Jane Hume said Walter would continue to work with the board “consulting on and refining the Standards for Financial Advisers that remain under FASEA’s responsibility until the organisation is wound up”.

Walter was first appointed as chair in 2017. She is also a director of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s Payments System Board; chair of Melbourne Genomics Health Alliance; director of the Australian Foundation Investment Company; and trustee of the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust.


Xavier Simonet

Austrade’s new CEO, Xavier Simonet, has this week commenced in the role, with a brief to “further drive export opportunities for Australian businesses to support jobs and growth at home”, according to trade minister Dan Tehan.

“Mr Simonet has business acumen and a proven record of leading successful international brands. His international perspective, deep experience and strong brand management will help Australian businesses succeed internationally,” he said.

Simonet was most recently group CEO and managing director of Kathmandu Holdings, and was appointed to his new role late last year. He said he was “excited and energised” to be joining Austrade.

“I acknowledge the critical role Austrade is playing in a world full of challenges (and opportunities). It is a privilege to join the Austrade team and the Australian Public Service,” he said.

Tim Beresford has been acting in the role since June last year.


Paul Graham

As previously reported this week, Australia Post has appointed Paul Graham as its next group CEO and managing director, starting in September. He is currently chief supply chain officer at Woolworths Group.

The appointment was announced the day before former CEO Christine Holgate levelled explosive accusations at the AusPost board during a senate inquiry into the organisation, including that she was “unlawfully” stood down.

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