Gig Guide: Defence gets a new data chief

Brandon How

The Department of Defence has found a new chief data integration officer in Paul Robards, who will oversee the half-a-billion-dollar OneDefence Data Program.

He will replace Dr Maria Milosavljevic when she joins ANZ bank as chief information security officer on August 28. Dr Milosavljevic will have spent just over a year and a half at Defence.

Dr Robards worked at the department for more than 24 years and is currently the acting first assistant secretary for people services. He has also served in the Australian Army since 1989.

Dr Robards was previously the assistant secretary for HR transformation and for people systems and payroll services, and in 2011 attained a PhD in Information Science from the Naval Postgraduate School in the United States.

Image: Department of Defence/Craig Barrett

Services Australia’s new deputy chief executive for service delivery excellence is Jonathan Thorpe, who has held the role in an acting capacity for the last two months and, before that, was acting deputy chief executive for customer service design. Before joining Services Australia in 2021, Mr Thorpe led the digital identity program of work at the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA).

DTA chief operating officer George-Philip de Wet has moved to join the National Anti-Corruption Commission as its general manager of enabling services. He spent more than six and a half years at the agency across the chief finance officer, chief operating officer, and head of corporate roles.

At the Australian Submarine Agency, Kate van Hilst has been appointed first assistant director general – SSN construction (nuclear-powered submarine). She was promoted from her role as assistant secretary nuclear powered submarine trilateral program delivery at the Department of Defence.

On Tuesday, former Victorian information commissioner Sven Bluemmel will begin his new role as Victorian electoral commissioner, which has a 10-year term. He replaces deputy electoral commissioner Dana Fleming, who has been acting in the role since the departure of Warwick Gately in April.

Consumer rights advocacy group CHOICE’s consumer data advocate Dr Kate Bower has joined the University of Technology Sydney’s Human Technology Institute (HTI) as its first fellow. Dr Bower will serve in the role over a six-month period focusing her work on HTI’s Future of AI Regulation in Australia.

Intellectual property law firm Wrays has appointed Paula Adamson as its new chief executive. Ms Adamson will begin in the role on September 11 and be based out of Sydney. She moves from IP Australia where she is deputy director general (customer services division) and has also worked at the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet’s Critical Technologies Policy Coordination Office.

Paula Adamson. Image: LinkedIn

The new chair of steel manufacturer BlueScope is existing non-executive director Jane McAloon, who replaces retiring chair John Bevan after an eight-year tenure. Ms McAloon joined the board at the end of September 2022 and is also chair of energy retailer EnergyAustralia and the Monash University Foundation. She is also on the board of Newcrest Mining and Allianz Australia.

The new chief executive of the Business Council of Australia is Bran Black, who will begin in the role on September 12. He replaces Jennifer Westacott who has helmed the lobby group since 2011. Mr Black spent the last two years as the chief of staff to the former Premier of New South Wales Dominic Perrottet and has previously served as the General Counsel of the NSW Liberal Party.

Two board appointments have been made at professional association Women in STEMM, which represents women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine. Dr Nikki Sims-Chilton is the Queensland Department of Environment and Science manager of science engagement and impact, while Dr Priya Rani is a computer systems engineering lecturer at RMIT University’s school of engineering.

The new chief executive of toll operator and transport technology firm Transurban is Michelle Jablko. Ms Jablko will replace incumbent Scott Charlton on October 19 after spending around three years serving as chief financial officer. Before Transurban, Ms Jablko served as ANZ’s chief financial officer for more than four and a half years.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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