Professor Glyn Davis, an esteemed innovation and public policy expert and former chair of the Australia 2020 Summit, has been appointed as the new Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet.
The Governor-General appointed Professor Davis to the most powerful public service job in Australia on Monday morning following a recommendation from new Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.
Professor Davis is replacing former Liberal Party staffer Phil Gaetjens in the role, who served as Secretary from 2019 to 2022.
Professor Davis is a distinguished professor at the Australian National University’s Crawford School of Public Policy and the CEO of the Paul Ramsay Foundation.
He has long-running ties to the research and innovation ecosystems, and chaired the Australia 2020 Summit in 2008 and served as a member of the Innovation Taskforce, reviewing Australia’s research and innovation systems.
The summit and taskforce aimed to “help shape a long-term strategy for the nation’s future”.
Professor Davis was the vice-chancellor of the University of Melbourne from 2005 to 2018, is the immediate past chair of Universitas 21 and a member of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities.
He is also a patron of Australia 21, a non-profit developing research networks on issues impacting Australia’s future, and the former president of the Group of Eight, representing the country’s major research universities.
“Professor Davis will bring to the role of Secretary a deep understanding of public policy and will work with my government in bringing about positive change for the Australian people,” Mr Albanese said in a statement.
He has been appointed on a five-year term and will start in the job next week.
Professor Davis was awarded a Companion of the Order of Australia for “public service administration” in 2002 and is also a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia.
He studied political science at the University of New South Wales and the Australian National University, where he completed a doctoral thesis on the political independence of the ABC.
It was widely expected that Mr Gaetjens would not continue in his role if Labor won the federal election, following comments from Mr Albanese that he had “allowed” the Department to become politicised.
In the role, Professor Davis will also be the head of the public service.
During the election campaign Labor unveiled a plan to cut government spending on contractors and consultants by $3 billion over the next four years and scrap the controversial public service staffing cap.
The Coalition had planned to cut more than $3 billion from the APS to pay for its election commitments if it won office.
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