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Sinodinos adds another string to Drew Clarke’s bow

Former Commonwealth secretary Drew Clarke has begun a five-year term on the CSIRO board, shortly after taking up a seat on the board of NBN Co. earlier this month.

Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Arthur Sinodinos said Clarke would be “a strong addition” to the body due to “his expertise in innovation and across various industry sectors” in a statement on Friday, particularly noting his experience of the AusIndustry program.

His two new governance roles follow a stint as Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s chief of staff from September 2015, when Turnbull deposed Tony Abbott, until April this year.

“He has high-level insight into the dynamics of policy-making and implementation,” Sinodinos said.

“Mr Clarke will bring a valuable mix of skills to the CSIRO Board with his background in applied science and business administration, broad knowledge of Commonwealth responsibilities, wide range of experiences in business strategy, and risk and change management.

“His broad experience in policy and strategy across the information and digital communications industries, the resources and energy sectors, coupled with his expertise in corporate governance and innovation will complement those of existing CSIRO Board members.”

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The minister also pointed to his leadership experience from over 20 years in senior executive roles in the public service. Clarke was appointed secretary of the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism in April 2010 and in March of 2013, moved across to lead the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy.

The organisation led by Clarke was transformed into the Department of Communications about six months later following the change of government, with Turnbull as its minister, and has since gained the arts portfolio, bringing back a letterhead last seen in the 1990s. Clearly the experienced bureaucrat earned respect on both sides of Parliament.

CSIRO chair David Thodey welcomed Clarke and echoed Sinodinos’ sentiment: “His depth of knowledge and experience as a senior leader in the public sector, as well as his extensive board experience, will enrich CSIRO’s board.”

“As CSIRO continues its Strategy 2020 journey, I am confident Drew’s contributions will be central to positioning us for ongoing success.”

Clarke is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering and Sinodinos noted some of his governance experience: he was chair of ANZLIC — the Spatial Information Council as well as the COAG Energy Council’s Standing Committee of Officials, director of the Cooperative Research Centre for Spatial Information and a member of the International Energy Agency Governing Board.

He was appointed an Officer in the Order of Australia (AO) last year for distinguished service to public administration and received a Public Service Medal for his work on energy market reform in 2009.

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