Gig Guide: Ziggy out of RMIT, apparatchiks on the move

Joseph Brookes
Senior Reporter

The Chancellor of RMIT has stepped down after controversy surrounded his new role at Crown Casino, several Morrison government advisers have moved on, and an IT media veteran has found a new home.

Ziggy Switkowski has stepped down from his role as chancellor of RMIT following pressure from university staff about his new job as Crown Resorts chairman.

Ziggy Switkowski: stepping down early from RMIT.

The former Telstra and Optus boss will leave the university in October after 11 years – four years before the end of his term.

Last week, RMIT staff published an open letter calling for his resignation, saying his role as chancellor was untenable while he also led the board of the “socially destructive” Crown Resorts.

On Tuesday, the university and Dr Switkowski issued a statement saying he would step down from RMIT to focus on his “new board responsibilities”.

“Ziggy has been a force for positive change and an influential voice for RMIT and the sector across government and industry and will be missed. We wish him well in his new endeavours,” said RMIT’s deputy chancellor Janet Latchford, who will lead the search for a replacement and act in an interim role if one is not found by next month.

Dr Switkowski has since said he needed to step down to be able to devote the time needed to the troubled gaming giant rather than any tension between the two roles.

Dr Switkowski also chairs the government owned NBN Co and was appointed by Education Minister Alan Tudge in June to lead a group to develop a new 10-year roadmap for Australia’s research infrastructure priorities.

Atlassian has added Cloudflare co-founder and president Michelle Zatlyn to its board of directors. Ms Zatlyn co-founded the cloud services and security company in 2009 and took it public in 2019. Its share price has climbed steadily to help make Ms Zatlyn tech’s newest billionaire in July.

Australian-German startup Quantum Brilliance has poached an IBM quantum executive to lead its European business development.

Mark Mattingley-Scott spent more than three decades at Big Blue, including in several executive roles, most recently as IBM quantum ambassador for the Asia-Pacific and Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Armed with $13 million in seed funding, the Australian National University spin-out is looking to bring on more than 100 new employees by the end of next year split across Australia and Germany.

The company harnesses synthetic diamonds to build “quantum accelerators” that operate at room temperature in small form factors to provide quantum computational power in conjunction with classical computing systems.

“I joined the Quantum Brilliance team to help fulfil the company’s vision of making quantum computing an everyday, useful technology,” said Mr Mattingley-Scott.

“Europe has much to gain from a robust quantum industry, and the addition of a highly disruptive technology such as quantum accelerators will have a major influence on its growth.”

IT and government press veteran Julian Bajkowski has landed at eftpos Payments Australia as executive manager of corporate affairs and communications.

Mr Bajkowski was editor of iTnews for two years until 2020 before founding his own research consultancy. Prior to iTnews, he was managing editor of public service publication The Mandarin and has also been editor of Government News.

Working in Australian tech news since the late 90s, Mr Bajkowski also had long stints at Computerworld Australia and the Australian Financial Review.

In 2011, he spent a year running communications for Mastercard and returned to payments public relations with eftpos in August.

Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews’ former senior media adviser will head up media and communications at the Australian Space Agency.

Keegan Buzza, who worked for Ms Andrews for two years when she held the Industry portfolio took a break in May following a cabinet reshuffle that sent Ms Andrews to Home Affairs.

This week he announced his new role as media and communications manager for the space agency, which he worked with Ms Andrews on.

“I can’t wait to help the agency continue to deliver on its mission to triple the size of the sector by 2030 and inspire the next generation of young Australians to dream big,” Mr Buzza wrote on LinkedIn.

Another government staffer is also on the move, with a former Stuart Robert senior adviser headed to Canberra Data Centres. Jack Dan spent three years as a senior ministerial adviser for data, digital and transformation in Mr Robert’s office and will join CDC in a new role of chief strategy officer.

The Canberra headquartered company is a favoured option of federal agencies and has attained the highest certification level under a new push by Minister Robert to gain more oversight of data centres and guarantees from them.

“It’s an organisation that for more than a decade has been constantly defining and raising the bar on what excellence means in their field, rather than trying to claim there isn’t much difference in their space,” Mr Dan wrote on LinkedIn.

Nicole Prior has been announced as managing director for Australia and New Zealand of AT&T’s adtech division Xandr.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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