Movers & shakers: Home Affairs, Indigenous Affairs, Industry portfolios and more

By The Mandarin

August 10, 2018

New Senior Executive Services promotions in the Australian government, including a new Director-General and 6 new First Assistant Secretaries, plus a large cohort of new senior executives in Home Affairs. Also, what John Fraser did next.


Michael J Schwager has been appointed as the new head of IP Australia following today’s retirement of director-general Patricia Kelly. The Band 3 position sits in the Industry portfolio, where Schwager was previously the COO of CSIRO and the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science following a career that included representing Australia’s Industry portfolio interests in Washington as minister counsellor.

Home Affairs

There were two new First Assistant Secretaries in Home Affairs promoted from Band 1 this week.

  • Stephanie Cargill, who becomes the new Chief Finance Officer
  • Bradley Armstrong, in the National Counter Foreign Interference division

There were 14 new Band 1 Assistant Secretaries in Home Affairs promoted from EL 2 this week. All are Canberra-based.

  • Jane Annear
  • Luke Brown
  • Martine Cooper
  • Stephanie Cordina
  • Renate Croker
  • Sanandan Dasgupta
  • Anna Lutz
  • Susan McKeag
  • Matthew Pedler
  • Sally Pfeiffer
  • Craig Riviere
  • Brett Schuppan
  • Ciara Spencer
  • Michael Thomas

Prime Minister and Cabinet

There were three First Assistant Secretary/Band 2 promotions in the Indigenous Affairs Group of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet this week.

  • Kevin Brahim, who becomes Deputy National Director (Delivery). Brahim was previously National State Office Liaison and Indigenous Leader at Department of Education and Training.
  • Ryan Bulman, who becomes FAS, Housing, Land and Culture. Bulman was previously PM&C’s Assistant Secretary, Housing
  • Letitia Hope, who becomes Deputy National Director (Operations). Hope was previously the Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies.

Industry, Innovation & Science

Rebecca Manen has been promoted to Band 2 and appointed as General Manager, Science Policy the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science in Canberra this week.

More SES Band 1

Clair McNamara has been promoted to Assistant Secretary, Global Interests at the Department of Defence. McNamara was previously Director, India Economic Section/Head India Economic Strategy Taskforce at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Abel MacDonald has been promoted to Advisor, Strategy and Engagement at the recently created NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission, run by Graeme Head, based in Sydney. MacDonald was previously an EL 2 at the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care.

What John Fraser did next

One bonus move we thought some of you might be interested in knowing:

John Fraser will be joining his fellow Secretaries Board alum, former DFAT secretary Peter Varghese, as an independent board member of AMP Limited. The financial services company has long had top former Commonwealth mandarins on its board, including Professor Peter Shergold for nearly 10 years.

Of course the company is in a bit of a difficulty with the Banking Royal Commission, so it doesn’t hurt to have a few well-connected former top officials on the payroll. AMP chair David Murray said the appointment, effective from September, demonstrates “that Board renewal is well underway as we continue the rebuild at AMP.”

See last week’s movers and shakers update here.

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