Gig Guide: Former DTA chief heads to Defence

Joseph Brookes
Senior Reporter

Government ICT veteran Peter Alexander has surfaced at the Department of Defence as first assistant secretary while the incoming boss of the competition watchdog has been scrutinised for her previous assistance to the Murdoch empire.

Peter Alexander has moved to the Australian Department of Defence after more than five years at the Digital Transformation Agency.

He took up the role of Defence first assistant secretary in December after acting as the DTA’s chief and deputy chief since July, when former boss Randall Brugeaud left for a trade taskforce role.

Mr Alexander is a whole-of-government ICT veteran with lengthy stints within the former Australian Government Information Management Office and the Department of Finance, and was the Australian government chief digital officer in 2017.

He joins a well-funded Defence department as it develops a new $1 billion ERP system.

Peter Alexander
Former Australian Government chief digital officer Peter Alexander is now a Defence Department secretary

Gina Cass-Gottlieb, a well regarded competition lawyer, has been recommended as the next chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission by the Treasurer.

But Josh Frydenberg’s pick has caused some controversy because she is a Murdoch family insider has defended a key participant in the ACCC’s ongoing criminal case against several banks that alleges cartel behaviour.

Ms Cass-Gottlieb is reportedly the current manager of a Delaware firm that administers Rupert Murdoch’s US-based family trust, which controls the family’s lucrative stock holdings in News Corp. She has also a former attorney to News Corp heir Lachlan Murdoch, according to the Los Angeles Times.

If approved by the states and territories, Ms Cass-Gottlieb will take over from long-time chair Rod Sims in March. She has committed to stepping down from private appointments if approved.

Gayle Milnes this week started her new role as National Data Commissioner Designate. Ms Milnes replaces Deborah Anton, who served as interim National Data Commissioner for three and a half years.

Former ASIO boss David Irvine has been reappointed as the chair of the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) for a further two-year period. The former top spook has served as a member of FIRB since 2015 and as chair since 2017.

Dr Kerry Schott has been named as chair of the New South Wales Net Zero Emissions and Clean Economy Board.

Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was sensationally dumped as chair of the board a week after his appointment earlier this year. His appointment sparked a backlash within segments of the state’s Coalition government as it faced a by-election in a NSW coal region at the time.

Dr Schott joins the state’s clean energy board shortly after standing down from the national Energy Security Board, which she joined on establishment in 2017.

The federal government has poached Microsoft’s global artificial intelligence solution sales lead Stela Solar to head its new National AI Centre.

Australian space company Southern Launch has scooped up talent from the abandoned Naval Group submarines program.

Paul Pearce will lead the space company’s engineering team after leaving Naval Group Australia where he was a program manager.

Travis Hillman and Glyn Hancock also joined Southern Launch after leaving the submarine program scrapped by the Coalition government earlier this year.

Mark Troselj has left Sitecore to lead Splunk in ANZ as their group vice president for the region.

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