Barely a week after presiding over the official opening of the $35 million Sydney Startup Hub, the inaugural Jobs for NSW chief executive officer Karen Borg has left the organisation.
Ms Borg had been in the role since late 2015 – when Jobs for NSW was established – after a career in medtech and health services, including most recently three years as president of ResMed’s Asia Pacific operation.
The resignation was quietly announced via a regular update to stakeholders by chairman David Thodey and the secretary to the NSW Department of Industry Simon Smith on behalf of the Jobs for NSW board.
No reason for the resignation was given and the update included details of a small internal re-organisation aimed at bolstering the Jobs for NSW visibility and influence over the state’s whole of government policy development arrangements.
Jobs for NSW chairman David Thodey told InnovationAus.com that with the successful launch of the Sydney Startup Hub last week, Ms Borg had indicated that “this was a good opportunity to move on to the next stage.”
“She’s been in there for two and a bit years and she’s done a great job and now she’s looking for her next challenge,” Mr Thodey said. “I’ve enjoyed working with Karen – she’s a class operator, gets things done and we’ll miss her.”
Ms Borg had been with Jobs for NSW from its inception and managed the organisation through its ‘startup’ phase. She oversaw the fulfilment of its $35 million Sydney Startup Hub – which was completed in 18 months, from idea to launch.
Mr Thodey said Jobs for NSW chief operating officer Geoff White would take over as interim CEO while a competitive search is conducted.
He said the internal restructure was minor. The majority of the 55-60 employees inside Jobs for NSW would continue to work on core products – the loan products, equity products, regional products and its MVP product – while a small number of policy people would move to a policy team within the Industry department.
While these staff would still be working for Jobs for NSW, their placement within a bigger team would give the organisation better insights into cross-government policy development.
“That’s about looking at cross-government policy in education, skills development, science and innovation, health – all of those different areas where we intersect with other policy groups within the NSW government,” Mr Thodey said.
“What we found is that we really needed to be a part of the bigger policy development machine within the NSW Government.” That meant putting a couple of people across into a central policy group “who still work for us, and view things with a ‘Jobs lens’,” he said.
“That gives us more leverage in terms of looking at what we need to do across government,” he said.