Michelle Price leaves AustCyber for EY following acquisition

Denham Sadler
National Affairs Editor

AustCyber chief executive officer Michelle Price has left the federal government Industry Growth Centre to become a partner at consulting giant EY, a year after the organisation was acquired by Stone & Chalk.

AustCyber announced on Monday afternoon that Ms Price would be leave the organisation after four years in the role and having been there since it was launched in January 2017 as Australia’s Cyber Security Industry Growth Centre.

Ms Price’s departure comes just over a year since it was announced that AustCyber would be acquired by tech startup accelerator and co-working space Stone & Chalk, and means that both chief executives of these organisations have left since this process begun.

Departing AustCyber chief Michelle Price

Ms Price will not be replaced at AustCyber, with Stone & Chalk chief Michael Bromley to add the role to his duties. Ms Price will join EY as a partner in the Oceania cybersecurity, private and trusted technology practice, starting in May.

“It has been a true privilege to lead AustCyber to deliver on our mission to grow a vibrant and globally competitive Australian cybersecurity sector,” Ms Price said in a statement.

“From our partnerships with Australian governments and those overseas, to TAFEs and universities, to industry associations and chambers of commerce, to buyers and investors, and especially to the startups and scaleups, I’m proud of what we have achieved so far.

“Now is the right time to pass the reins following the successful completion of the merger with Stone & Chalk. I’m very excited to be joining EY to continue my passion for cybersecurity and its role in an ever-changing strategic landscape.”

AustCyber chair Doug Elix said Ms Price would be missed at the organisation.

“Michelle has done exactly what the Australian government’s Industry Growth Centre initiative was designed to do,” Mr Elix said.

“She led AustCyber to help build a national network of globally competitive companies, to boost Australian employment and provide sovereign capability in the critical area of cybersecurity. She also led its transition into a more commercial context through our merger with Stone & Chalk.”

It was announced in February last year that AustCyber would become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Stone & Chalk, although both CEOs at the time said this was a merger rather than an acquisition.

The organisations have continued to operate under their own brands and run effectively separate accounting in order to meet obligations under government funding agreements, but staff and day-to-day operations have been integrated.

AustCyber will continue to be run as a Commonwealth Industry Growth Centre until the end of June this year, and will continue to receive federal funding until then.

Ms Price’s resignation comes less than six months after Stone & Chalk CEO Alex Scandurra also stood down to pursue “new opportunities” last August.

Mr Bromley was appointed as the new CEO in October after serving as the Asia-Pacific managing director of Rightpoint.

The Industry Growth Centres were allocated an additional $19 million to help with the transition to being self-sustaining this year as part of the MYEFO update in December. The allocation is “seed funding for key projects of value”, according to the Industry department.

While AustCyber has already completed the merger with Stone & Chalk, this does not necessarily mean it will achieve self-sustainment later this year when the federal government funding dries up, and the centre is also canvassing state government partnership opportunities.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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