BHP mining executive becomes SA’s top bureaucrat

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill has tapped BHP Billiton mining executive Kym Winter-Dewhirst to head up his department after the retirement of Jim Hallion.

Kym Winter-Dewhirst

Kym Winter-Dewhirst

The South Australian government has poached a mining executive from BHP Billiton to take up the position as the state’s most powerful bureaucrat.

Kym Winter-Dewhirst, a communications specialist and vice-president of the company’s coal business, will replace Jim Hallion as chief executive of the Department of Premier and Cabinet. Hallion recently announced his retirement after two decades in the public service.

Winter-Dewhirst was a lobbyist and spent almost three years as chief of staff to environment minister John Hill in 2002-04 before taking up positions at WMC Resources and BHP. He worked in the state on external and media relations for BHP’s abandoned Olympic Dam expansion before becoming vice-president of coal based in Brisbane.

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