Gig Guide: Wyatt Roy heads to Saudi Arabia

Brandon How

Former Liberal assistant minister for innovation Wyatt Roy is off to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to be crowned sector head of innovation for its planned urban development, Neom.

Mr Roy served as assistant ministerial role between 2015 and 2016, helping to lead the development of the National Innovation and Science Agenda.

Since then, he has been an executive director at the Tech Council of Australia, senior adviser for McKinsey, and briefly acted as chief commercial officer of South Australian solar technology manufacturer SunDrive.

Taking to LinkedIn, Mr Roy said he is “hugely excited to be working alongside an array of incredible pioneers in one of the world’s most ambitious projects”. He argued there is a need for a “complete rethink” of approaches to issues like climate change and water scarcity.

“I’ve seen NEOM’s internal plans and spent time with its leadership, and I’m both daunted by what we aim to achieve and encouraged by how they want to achieve it,” Mr Roy said.

“I also believe it represents a positive future being built in Saudi Arabia and the wider region, one that younger generations are especially hungry for.”

The planned area for development is expected to cover 26,500 square kilometres and is an initiative of Saudi Arabia’s crown prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman.

Wyatt Roy

The chief executive of the New South Wales information and privacy commission Elizabteh Tydd has left after 10 years in the role. During her time, she helped lead the development of the Commonwealth’s first Open Government Partnership National Action Plan.

After only half a year as the head of the Net Zero Economy Agency, former Labor minister for industry and innovation and for climate change and energy efficiency Greg Combet has moved to head up the Future Fund, Australia’s sovereign wealth fund.

The inaugural head of the government’s manufacturing vehicle, the National Manufacturing Fund Corporation, was also announced this week. Ivan Power bring 25 years’ worth of investment experience to the role.

Kristin Stubbins, who acted as PwC head while the multinational was being scrutinised for having breached confidentiality agreements with the federal government, left this week after a 30-year stint. Last year, it was revealed that PwC had used confidential information to prepare services to help multinationals, including tech firms Google, Uber, Microsoft, and Facebook, avoid an incoming tax.

The chief scientist of the University of New South Wales’ AI Institute Professor Toby Walsh has joined the network of experts advising UN Secretary General’s High Level Advisory Body on AI.

AirTree ventures has appointed Kelland Reilly as general partner, who spent the last 13 years as a Silicon Valley investor. He has worked on investments in Airbnb, Atlassian, Slack, Spotify, and Uber, among others.

Australian National University-based think tank, the Tech Policy Design Centre, has added two additional members to its team. These are former government tech policy advisers Zoe Jay Hawkins as head of policy design, and Simon Paul McAllister as head of education design.

Kate Pounder concluded her time as the Tech Council of Australia founding chief executive on Friday. Ms Pounder resigned from the role to limit her travel commitments to support a family health-related matter.

Tech Council chief executive Kate Pounder. Image: Supplied

The almost 80-person team behind cyber threat detection firm ParaFlare became a part of Deloitte last week, half a year after it was acquired by the multinational consultancy. This includes ParaFlare co-founders Adam McCarthy and Frank Santucci, who were chief executive and chief technology officer respectively.

Vulcan Energy Resources had appointed Felicity Gooding as group chief financial officer. Ms Gooding’s last role was as chief financial officer for Fortescue Future Industries (now Fortescue Energy), which she held for a year.

CSIRO Data61’s new associate science director for international engagement is Dr Marco Sachy. He joins the national science agency after more than four and a half years at the European Commission working in scientific and research officer roles.

Australia’s new ambassador and permanent representative to the World Trade Organization is James Baxter. He is currently a senior career officer of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and last served as first assistant secretary for the office of global trade negotiations.

The Australian Tax Office has a new assistant commissioner for smarter data in Christopher Kellahan, who was promoted internally. Meanwhile, the National Indigenous Australians Agency’s new chief information officer is Emily Woodward, who has moved from Services Australia.

A slew of appointments have also been made at the Department of Industry, Science, and Resources (DISR). This includes Bede Jones as the new chief data officer and general manager for the data evaluation branch. There are also three new general managers in the budget and portfolio budget policy branch: James Flick, Noel Taloni, and Jasminder Higgins.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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