David Thodey is Sydney University’s new chancellor

James Riley
Editorial Director

Australian business leader David Thodey has been elected the new Chancellor at the University of Sydney, succeeding Belinda Hutchinson, who is stepping down after nearly 12 years in the role.

Mr Thodey has a long career background in the IT sector, and has been active in recent years in helping to steer government innovation policy. He is a former chief executive officer at Telstra, and was chief executive at IBM Australia before that.

Mr Thodey is currently chair of the cloud-based accounting software provider Xero chair of local fintech Tyro Payments and is a board director at Ramsay Health Care.

He also chaired the 2019 Australian Public Sector Review, was deputy chair of the National COVID-19 Commission Advisory Board.

Vice-chancellor Mark Scott, chancellor Belinda Hutchinson, chancellor-designate David Thodey. Credit: Michael Amendolia

The University of Sydney senate announced the election of Mr Thodey on Monday.

The university’s vice-chancellor Mark Scott described Mr Thodey as a renowned leader across a broad range of national life.

“David brings to the University an extraordinary background that demonstrates a commitment to community, innovation and public service – as well as, of course, his extensive leadership and board experience across research, technology and telecommunications,” Professor Scott said.

“His career has changed the lives of millions of Australians through telecommunications and digital technologies.

“I am excited to work with him as we pursue the University of Sydney’s strategic aspirations, ensuring transformative education and research excellence is at the heart of everything we do.”

Mr Thodey, who will start as the university’s 19th chancellor later this year, said research translation for real-world impact is what great universities do best, and that would continue to be a priority at Sydney university.

He said the community thrives through inclusion and diversity and this would continue to be our focus of the university “as we commit to ensuring the success of a greater diversity of students and staff at Sydney”.

Professor Scott thanked out-going chancellor Hutchinson for her 11 years in the role, saying the business and industry experience she brought to the role left its mark.

“Universities are uniquely positioned to drive the research breakthroughs the world needs to solve our most pressing problems,” Professor Scott said.

“But these discoveries are not happening in isolation – innovation often occurs at the crossroads where universities, industry and communities connect.

“This exemplifies the profound value Belinda has brought to the university with her extensive business background and experience on the boards of some of Australia’s largest companies and leading not-for-profit organisations.”

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