Gig Guide: James Brown shoots for the stars in Senate bid

Brandon How

Inaugural Space Industry Association of Australia chief executive James Brown has stepped down to compete for selection as a federal senator for New South Wales.

Mr Brown, who leaves the peak industry body after three years in the role, was reportedly in the running to replace the late Liberal Senator Jim Molan in May after receiving an endorsement by former Prime Minister John Howard.

The former soldier and RSL NSW president and executive chair is also a director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute and a non-resident fellow at the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney.

As the Space Industry Association of Australia (SIAA) searches for a replacement, chair Jeremy Hallett will take on additional responsibilities for the company with the assistance of SIAA director and immediate past chair Tim Parsons.

“James leaves with the gratitude of the Board and our industry for his leadership of SIAA over the past three years. James has been the go-to for our members, government stakeholders, international partners and the media on Space in Australia and his knowledge and insights will be missed,” Mr Hallett said.

Outgoing Space Industry Association chief James Brown

The new chair of the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) is Lyn McGrath, who began her three-year term on September 29. Ms McGrath has been on the board for more than seven years and was the chair of ADHA’s audit and risk committee. She is also on the board of Auswide Bank, Credit Corp, and Challenger Bank.

Ms McGarth replaced Dr Elizabeth Deveny, who served as chair for five years and has been on the board since ADHA was founded in 2016.

The new Consul-General and Trade and Investment Commissioner for Houston, Texas is Gabrielle Hall. Ms Hall spent the last seven and a half years at Austrade and has spent 2023 serving as senior investment adviser for advanced manufacturing, Americas.

The boards of the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), the Cotton Research and Development Corporation (CRDC), and AgriFutures Australia have been refreshed, with the new and reappointed members to serve three-year terms from October 1.

There have been four new appointments at GRDC, five new appointments at CRDC, and four new appointments at AgriFutures. A full list can be found here.

The new deputy chief executive of Universities Australia is Renee Hindmarsh, who will begin on October 25. Her most recent role was as the South Australian government’s Skills Commissioner between March 2021 and April 2023. Before that she served as executive director of the Australian Technology Network of Universities for almost four and a half years.

KPMG Partner and former senior New South Wales public servant Danielle Woolley has joined the University of Technology Sydney’s Human Technology Institute as a fellow where she will lead work based on the learnings of the ‘Thrive: Finishing School Well research program’.

Danielle Woolley. Image: LinkedIn

Fleet Space Technologies has appointed Imelda Alexopoulos as director of exploration strategy. Ms Alexopoulos spent 15 and a half years at PwC and was partner between October 2015 and June 2023. She was also previously a Space Committee Member for the American Chamber of Commerce in Australia between October 2020 and June 2023.

The tenure of Jobs and Skills Australia (JSA) acting commissioner Professor Peter Dawkins ended last week, after first being appointed interim director in December 2022. Professor Dawkins was a senior Victorian public servant, economics academic, and was formerly Victoria University vice-chancellor and president between 2011 and 2020.

The new Net Zero Economy Agency assistant secretary at the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet is Joshua Cosgrave.

At the end of September, Austrade’s Simplified Trade System Implementation Taskforce director Jessica Edington departed after eight months in the role.

Mentors for Science and Technology Australia’s Superstars of STEM program have been announced and include former Science and Industry minister Hon Karen Andrews, Independent MPs Allegra Spender and Zoe Daniel, New Zealand’s chief science advisor Dame Juliet Gerrard, and South Australian chief scientist professor Caroline McMillen. The full list is here.

Karen Andrews
Karen Andrews MP

The new chancellor of the University of Newcastle is former Australian High Commissioner to New Zealand and Liberal member of the Legislative Council of New South Wales Patricia Forsythe.

Ms Forsythe replaces outgoing chancellor Paul Jeans, who is retiring at the end of this year, after a decade in the role. In his career, Mr Jeans spent 40 years at mining giant BHP and held several chief executive roles in that time.

Chair of the Future Fund, former federal Treasurer Peter Costello, informed the government at the end of September that he would not seek reappointment for a third term when his current term ends on April 2, 2025. He has formerly been in the role since February 2014 and was first appointed to the board in December 2009.

Former Export Finance Australian managing director and chief executive Swati Dave has joined the board of Australian Financial Complaints Authority. Her three-year term began on September 1.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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