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Corporate governance

Austrade’s corporate governance framework provides a sound basis for decision-making. It supports the achievement of Austrade’s purposes and objectives while meeting legislative, policy and accountability requirements. The framework provides a mature system for managing risk and human and financial resources through planning and assurance processes.

Governance committee structure

On 18 April 2018, the CEO formed a new governance committee structure to strengthen governance mechanisms to more effectively support agency-wide objectives and decision- making (see Figure 25).

In addition to the Executive Committee and Audit and Risk Committee, Austrade established the:

  • People and Values Committee
  • Resources Committee
  • Digital, Data and Information Committee.

Prior to 18 April 2018, the structure included three governance committees that reported directly to the CEO: the Executive Committee, the Audit and Risk Committee, and the Ethics Committee. Additionally, there were three governance committees that reported to the Executive Committee: the Security Advisory Group, the Workplace Relations Committee, and the Capital Committee.

The Security Advisory Group has been retained as a management committee. It provides advice on the management of security issues, is chaired by the Chief Operating Officer, and met four times during 2017–18.

The Workplace Relations Committee provides advice and consults with staff and management on workplace relations and change management issues. The committee met three times in 2017–18 and is now a subcommittee of the new People and Values Committee.

The Workplace Relations Committee provides advice and consults with staff and management on workplace relations and change management issues. The committee met three times in 2017–18 and is now a subcommittee of the new People and Values Committee.

The Ethics Committee met once in 2017–18 and was chaired by independent member, Simon Longstaff.

Figure 25: Austrade’s governance committee structure, at 30 June 2018

Figure 25: Austrade’s governance committee structure, at 30 June 2018

Austrade’s committees at 30 June 18, and their roles and activities, are shown in Table 12.

Table 12: Austrade governance committees, at 30 June 2018

Governance committee

Role and activities

Executive Committee

Provides a forum for strategic discussion and advice to the CEO on areas of organisational strategy, corporate governance, policy, and management and accountability, including financial management. The committee met 43 times in 2017–18. Biographies for the executive members of the committee are provided on pages 126–129.

Audit and Risk Committee

Provides independent assurance and advice to the CEO on Austrade’s risk, control, compliance and external accountability responsibilities under the PGPA Act and Rule. The committee was chaired by independent member, David Lawler, and includes an additional independent member, Jennifer Clark; an internal member, Dan Williams, until January 2018; and Deputy CEO David Hazlehurst since February 2018. It met five times in 2017–18.

Resources Committee

Oversees, monitors and advises on whole-of-agency strategic resourcing (including human resources, assets, capital and recurrent funding) and related strategies for meeting Austrade’s business goals. The committee was chaired by Deputy CEO David Hazlehurst and met three times in 2017–18. The former Capital Committee met eight times during the year.

Digital, Data and Information Committee

Provides governance and strategic oversight for digital, data and information initiatives, including cybersecurity. The committee was chaired by Deputy CEO David Hazlehurst and met once in 2017–18.

People and Values Committee

Prioritises and guides the development and implementation of strategies to enhance people and organisational effectiveness, and organisational values. The committee was chaired by Deputy CEO David Hazlehurst and met once in 2017–18.

Austrade's Executive Committee

Austrade’s Executive Committee advises the CEO and oversees strategic priorities, corporate management, operational plans and service delivery. It met 43 times in 2017–18.

There were a number of executive staffing and structural changes throughout the year. Members of the committee for varying periods during the year included Michael Clifton, acting Executive Director, International Operations Group; Nils van Boxsel, Chief Information Officer; David Landers, General Manager, Global Markets; Nick Woodruff, Chief Information Officer; Maureen Dupree, Chief Human Resources Officer; Sally Deane, Chief Human Resources Officer; and Lynne Ashpole, Head of Executive Branch.

On 20 February 2018, a new Executive Committee was established, consistent with Austrade’s new organisational structure. The committee now includes the CEO’s three direct reports (two deputy CEO positions, one of which was vacant during the reporting period, and the Chief Client Officer) and six general managers (including two international general managers).

The biographies of the Executive Committee members at 30 June 2018 are provided below.

Stephanie Fahey—Chief Executive Officer

Responsible for the management of Austrade and reports directly to the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment.

Stephanie Fahey has been Austrade’s CEO since 20 February 2017. Before joining Austrade, she was Lead Partner for Education at professional services firm EY, and prior to that, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Global Engagement) at Monash University in Melbourne. Stephanie has also served as the Director of the Research Institute for Asia and the Pacific at the University of Sydney, which conducted research on business and the economies of Asia.

Stephanie has a PhD from the Australian National University, where she focused on the socio-economic development of Papua New Guinea. After her doctoral studies, she pursued a teaching and research career, looking at growth in the Asia–Pacific region, particularly in Vietnam.

David Hazlehurst—Deputy CEO, Business, Partnerships and Support

Responsible for strategy and business transformation, partnerships, digital and IT, and corporate and ministerial services.

David Hazlehurst joined Austrade in January 2018. During 27 years in the Australian Public Service, David has held senior appointments in the Digital Transformation Office, the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, and the Treasury, and in the Education, and Family and Community Services, portfolios.

David holds bachelor degrees in Economics and Law (honours), and a Master of Public Policy from the Australian National University. He is a member of the Council of the Institute of Public Administration (ACT Division).

Kelly Ralston—Chief Client Officer

Responsible for driving innovation and excellence in Austrade’s client interactions, including client experience insights and capability, Austrade’s client contact centre and digital services, along with brand strategy, global communications and marketing, and programs such as the Free Trade Agreement Training Provider Grant and seminar programs.

Kelly Ralston has held a number of corporate, strategy and business leadership roles across Austrade since 2001, most recently leading the international marketing and promotion of Australia’s education and training sectors. From 2011 to 2015, Kelly served as the Senior Trade Commissioner at the Australian Embassy in Washington, DC, and at the Australian Consulate-General in Houston, Texas. Prior to joining Austrade, she worked in a range of other roles within the Australian Government.

Kelly holds a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Tasmania.

Nick Nichles—Chief Operating Officer

Responsible for national and international human resource management; finance; legal, procurement and fraud; security, consular and property; information and technology services; and client programs.

Nick Nichles joined Austrade in 2012 as General Manager, Marketing, Online and Business Practice. Prior to joining Austrade, he was the CEO of NSW Lotteries Corporation and has also held C-level commercial and marketing roles at McDonald’s Australia and Foxtel. Nick holds a Bachelor of Business from Queensland University of Technology, a Graduate Diploma of Marketing from University of Technology Sydney, and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Graham Putt—General Manager, Trade and Investment (acting)

Responsible for eight industry teams and a State Operations unit that includes 38 offices in Australia. These teams develop national industry strategies focused on facilitating exports, and attracting productive foreign direct investment into Australia.

Graham Putt joined Austrade in 2015. He has held senior executive roles at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and, prior to that, was Group Executive at Perpetual Trustees, CEO of Premium Investors, Chief Operating Officer of Treasury Group, and Managing Director of the Royal Bank of Canada’s securities services business for Asia. He is a Chartered Accountant and graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Rob Donelly—General Manager, Strategy and Business Transformation

Responsible for strategy, digital and data, research and analysis, internal communications, and governance.

Rob Donelly joined Austrade in 2017, bringing an in-depth knowledge of Australia’s investment environment. He joined Austrade from the Treasury, where he was Head of the Foreign Investment and Trade Policy Division and the Executive Member of the Foreign Investment Review Board. He was previously the Treasury’s Chief Financial Officer. Rob holds degrees in Economics and Commerce from the Australian National University and is a Fellow of CPA Australia.

Daniel Boyer—General Manager, Government and Partnerships

Responsible for policy coordination and engagement, partnerships and collaboration, and Austrade’s relationship with portfolio ministers and the parliament.

Daniel Boyer joined Austrade in 2014. Before taking up his present role of General Manager, Government and Partnerships in February 2018, he led the organisational restructure of the agency as the General Manager of the ‘Positioning for our Future’ benchmarking and strengthening initiatives.

Before moving to Austrade, Daniel worked in a number of Australian Government agencies, most recently in the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. His positions in the department included Assistant Secretary, Humanitarian Branch (responsible for Australia’s Offshore Humanitarian Visa Program), and Regional Director, East Asia (responsible for visa operations across North Asia and the Mekong region), based in Beijing.

Daniel holds a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Tasmania.

Nicola Watkinson—Deputy Consul-General and Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner, New York, and General Manager, The Americas

Responsible for Austrade’s network of US offices in New York, Boston, Chicago, Houston, San Francisco and Washington, DC, as well as Toronto and Vancouver in Canada. In January 2018, these duties were expanded to include Latin America, responsible for teams across Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Peru and Brazil.

Nicola Watkinson joined the Australian Government in 2003 following a career in the private sector in the United Kingdom and with the Victorian Government in Melbourne. Nicola has worked all around the world, with postings in Europe, South Asia, Australia and the United States. Her roles have included Consul-General in Frankfurt, Global Head of Investment, Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner for South Asia, and Senior Investment Commissioner for Europe, Middle East and Africa. She has also worked in North Asian markets, developing a knowledge of Japan, China and Korea.

Nicola has completed the International Company Directors Course at the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (combined honours) and Master of Business Administration from the University of Melbourne.

Brett Cooper—Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner, Tokyo, and General Manager, North East Asia

Responsible for a network of six offices across North East Asia.

Brett Cooper joined Austrade in 2011 and was appointed as Senior Trade Commissioner, Korea from 2012 to 2016. He took up his current role in Tokyo in August 2016.

Prior to joining Austrade, Brett worked as a senior adviser at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet in Canberra, where he was responsible for policy development and preparing advice to the Prime Minister across a range of international issues. Brett also has extensive previous experience working in Japan, the United States and Australia as a management consultant, and has worked for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra, and on diplomatic posting to the Netherlands.

Brett was a recipient of the Korean Government scholarship program (1997–2000) and graduated from Seoul National University law faculty with a Master of International Law.

He is also a recipient of the Japanese Government scholarship program (1992–1997), completing his Bachelor of Law at Kobe University in Japan.

Austrade’s Executive Committee. Standing (Left to right): Daniel Boyer, General Manager, Government and Partnerships; Kelly Ralston, Chief Client Officer; Graham Putt, General Manager, Trade and Investment (acting); Rob Donelly, General Manager, Strategy and Business Transformation; Nick Nichles, Chief Operating Officer. Seated (Left to right): David Hazlehurst, Deputy CEO, Business, Partnerships and Support; Stephanie Fahey, Chief Executive Officer. Not pictured: Nicola Watkinson, Deputy Consul-General and Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner, New York, and General Manager, The Americas; Brett Cooper, Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner, Tokyo, and General Manager, North East Asia. Photo: andre & dominique.

Austrade’s Executive Committee. Standing (L–R): Daniel Boyer, General Manager, Government and Partnerships; Kelly Ralston, Chief Client Officer; Graham Putt, General Manager, Trade and Investment (acting); Rob Donelly, General Manager, Strategy and Business Transformation; Nick Nichles, Chief Operating Officer. Seated (L–R): David Hazlehurst, Deputy CEO, Business, Partnerships and Support; Stephanie Fahey, Chief Executive Officer. Not pictured: Nicola Watkinson, Deputy Consul-General and Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner, New York, and General Manager, The Americas; Brett Cooper, Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner, Tokyo, and General Manager, North East Asia. Photo: andre&dominique.

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