Gig Guide: SmartSat CRC cofounder steps aside


Brandon How
Reporter

Co-founder of the SmartSat Cooperative Research Centre Adjunct Professor Michael Davis has stepped down from his role as director. Mr Davis is a space lawyer who helped establish the Adelaide-based CRC and develop its governance and strategy. He is leaving to focus on his role as chair of the Andy Thomas Space Foundation which promotes space awareness and space education.

The University of South Australia Adjunct Professor was also the chair of the Space Industry Association of Australia between 2016-2019. He was also part of the team that led to Adelaide’s hosting of the International Astronautical Congress in 2017.

SmartSat CRC Co-founder Michael Davis

Rob Baker fills the newly-created general manager for launch and test at Southern Launch. Mr Baker spent more than 22 years at the Department of Defence Science and Technology Group. During his time at DSTG he delivered range safety advice for rocket and missile testing, deployments to Afghanistan, advising Special Operations Command and leading research programs focused on protecting Australian soldiers and vehicles. He leaves the role of active protection systems program lead and advanced vehicle protection discipline lead.

Southern Launch chief executive Lloyd Damp said he was excited to welcome Mr Baker to the team.

“Rob brings with him the breadth of knowledge regarding rocket range safety and rocket modelling and simulation. The recent announcement of ADISCA and bringing Rob into the team aligns with Southern Launch’s increasing capability to support Australia’s strategic space and defence ambitions,” Mr Damp said.

Telstra’s new chief financial officer Michael Ackland will begin his term on September 1 when incumbent Vicki Brady fills the chief executive officer role. He moves up from his role as group executive for consumer and small business.

Mr Ackland joined the company almost six years ago from his former role as General Electric (GE) Healthcare chief executive Australia and New Zealand. Overall, Mr Ackland was with the GE for 12 and a half years, with his prior eight years spent at the Boston Consulting Group.

Fortescue Future Industries has found their inaugural head of decarbonisation in Christiaan Heyning. The firm is targeting net-zero emissions by 2040. Prior to this appointment Mr Heyning spent 19 years at consulting multinational McKinsey, of which almost 10 were spent as a partner.

Nicola McFarlane has started as Director, Hydrogen and New Energies at the Western Australian Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science, and Innovation. Ms McFarlane previously spent almost 12 years at oil and gas services and solutions firm DNV as principal engineer low carbon lead and almost 6 years prior as a senior engineer at the British office.

The Future Energy Exports Cooperative Research Centre has appointed Rochelle Gunn as project manager. Ms Gunn moves from her role as program co-ordinator at the Forrest Research Foundation. She also held roles at the University of Western Australia, uranium producer Deep Yellow, and CSIRO.

Bupa chief information officer for Australia and New Zealand Sami Yalavac has become the interim managing director following the Dwayne Crombie’s move to New Zealand as managing director of their aged care business. Mr Yalavac has been chief information officer since 2016 and with Bupa for 16 and a half years.

On April 21, EV charging company Tritium announced the appointment of David Nicholl as chief sales officer, Keith Hutchinson as chief people officer, and Michael Collins as general counsel and company secretary. Mr Nicholl will join the company in September from his role as ABB executive vice president for electrification. Mr Hutchinson moves from utility company National Grid after almost 21 years. Meanwhile Mr Collins moves from his role as ON Semiconductor’s vice president for corporate, securities, and compliance.

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