Movers & Shakers: tech boss now skills chair, new role for retired director general

By Jackson Graham

Friday January 21, 2022

The latest senior public sector appointments
The latest senior public sector appointments from across the country

The latest senior public sector appointments from across the country

Asha Rajah-Clarke

Senior Executive Service 

Band 1

The Department of Home Affairs has promoted Asha Rajah-Clarke to commander, Sally Hill to legislation assistant secretary, and Lauren Richardson to tactical capability commander.

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment has promoted Michael Roses to an assistant secretary position. 

The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission has promoted Samuel Lewis to chief information officer.

Michael Roses

Former consultancy partners join Greater Sydney Commission 

Two senior leaders have been appointed this week to support the independent government agency the Greater Sydney Commission. 

The agency’s new economic commissioner will be John Lydon, who spent 25 years of his career with McKinsey & Company working internationally, including as a managing partner for Australia and New Zealand. 

Lydon is currently a professor with the University of Technology Sydney’s Business School and co-chair of The B Team Australia’s Climate Leaders Coalition. 

Sarah Winter

Sarah Winter has been appointed to lead the commission’s work on the Central Coast jobs and economic strategy, and the Macquarie Park innovation precinct.  

Winter was previously a Deloitte partner for investment, infrastructure and impact. Her earlier roles include providing advice to the Australian Human Rights Commission, the United Nations in Haiti and PNG, and the Australian Council of International Development. She’s also served on boards for children’s legal services, community housing and advocacy.

Former WA director general now authority chair

Public sector careerist Gail McGowan has been appointed chair of the Western Australia Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority.

Gail McGowan

McGowan retired in May 2021 from her role as the director-general of the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage. 

She has been a member of the Infrastructure WA Board and held other senior positions across government, including at WorkSafe and WA’s former Department of State Development.

Meanwhile, Sheila McHale, a former Labor MP in the WA parliament for 12 years, has been elevated to deputy chair.

Professor Stephen van Leeuwen, a Boojarah Wardandi Noongar leader, has been appointed to the board for a three-year term. He is a botanical ecologist, research scientist and senior manager. 

Professor keeps role at Productivity Commission

The federal government has reappointed professor Stephen King as a part‑time Commissioner of the Productivity Commission for a further five‑year period.

Stephen King

King, who first joined the Productivity Commission in 2016, recommenced in the role from the start of this year. 

He has been a professor of economics at Melbourne’s Monash University where he was the Faculty of Business and Economics dean from 2009‑2011. 

Prior to joining Monash University, he was a Member of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, where he chaired the Mergers Review Committee.

An expert in microeconomic theory, competition economics, regulation and industrial organisation, he is a member of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia and a Lay Member of the High Court of New Zealand.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said in a statement that King would “continue to support the PC in providing advice on economic, social and environmental matters affecting the welfare of all Australians”. 

Tech boss becomes Skills Board chair

Microsoft Australia managing director Steven Worrall will be the new chair of the NSW Skills Board.

Steven Worrall

Worrall has been a member of the board since January 2021, offering insights from his career in the tech industry. 

The board provides independent advice to the NSW government on how best to meet the skills and training needs of industry, regions and the economy.

Worrall said he looked forward to working with the board to provide strategic advice on the vocational education and training system. 

“NSW faces many challenges at the moment, and meeting the skills and training needs of the economy is at the top of the list,” Worrall said.

“For the economy to thrive once more, every sector needs a skilled workforce to meet the skills demands of today and the workforce of the future.”

His appointment is for two years, and he is joined by UNSW professor Paul Chandler; Health & Safety Advisory Service’s Robyn Delander; The Infrastructure Collaborative’s Jillian Kilby and Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta’s Gregory Whitby on the board. 

Minister for skills and training Alister Henskens thanked outgoing chair Philip Clark for his contributions to the board. 

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