Our Organisation

Chief Executive Officer

Mr Xavier Simonet commenced as the Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) in April 2021.

Mr Simonet was previously Group CEO and Managing Director of Kathmandu Holdings, which comprises the Kathmandu, Rip Curl and Oboz brands, and has previously held the roles of CEO of Radley London and International Director of Seafolly Group.

He also worked for 11 years for LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy) in Europe, Asia and Australia.

Born and raised in France, Mr Simonet and his family have chosen to make Australia their home, where he has worked for iconic Aussie brands like Seafolly and Rip Curl.

He brings a passion for Australia alongside an international perspective that will help to identify the right opportunities and messages to boost Australian businesses around the world.

Mr Simonet has a Master’s degree in law, economics and public administration from the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris, a Master's in International Management from HEC Paris and the Vienna School of Economics and Business Administration, a Master's Diploma in Business Administration from the HEC School of Management in Paris and has completed the Harvard Business School Executive Management qualification in Strategic Marketing Management.

Deputy CEO, Global Client Services

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Tim Beresford is Deputy CEO, Global Client Services. Tim has strategic leadership for the promotion of trade and investment opportunities for Australia and operational responsibility for Austrade’s onshore trade and investment teams and offshore network.

Tim was previously Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Macquarie University with responsibility and oversight of operations and international student recruitment and engagement. Before that, he was Austrade’s Executive Director, Tourism, Investment, Education and Programmes.

Prior to joining Austrade, Tim was First Assistant Secretary of Social Policy Division at Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. He worked at Westpac in senior line management and strategy roles, and also in the professional services sector across Europe, Asia and Australia, including five years at McKinsey & Co.

Tim holds a Bachelor Degree in Law and Economics (First Class Honours) from Sydney University and Masters of Philosophy (International Relations) from Cambridge University where he was a Menzies Scholar in 1994. He is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Tim is passionate about community engagement. He is Chair of The Benevolent Society (TBS) and has been a board member since 2013. Tim was also a Board Member of Plan International Australia from 2003-2012.

Deputy CEO, Digital Services and Outreach

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Kelly Ralston is the Deputy CEO, Digital Services and Outreach. In this role, Kelly is focused on accelerating the delivery of the full suite of Austrade’s digital services, as well as continuing the delivery of ‘one to many’ services and grant programs. This group will also be responsible for engagement and work across Federal, as well as State and Territory governments, providing economic analysis and evaluation, and marketing and global communications.

Kelly 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 including the creation and implementation of AIE2025 - a long term market development roadmap. From 2011-15, Kelly served as the senior Austrade representative in the Embassy of Australia in Washington, DC. As Senior Trade Commissioner, Kelly was responsible for Austrade’s trade and investment activity in the mid-Atlantic and south-eastern regions of the United States and led the promotion of Australia’s international education in North America. During 2015 Kelly established and led the new Australian Consulate in Houston, Texas, through its initial start-up phase.

Kelly holds a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Tasmania and prior to joining Austrade, held a range of other positions within the Australian government.

Chief Operating Officer


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Rob Donelly is the Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Austrade, responsible for Finance; Human Resources; Legal; Property and Security; Governance; and IT operations.

Rob brings a depth of knowledge in both the business operations of Austrade and corporate roles. As General Manager Strategy and Business Transformation during 2018, Rob was responsible for embedding the Austrade Strategy 2018-22 throughout the business, as well as leading an ambitious Business Transformation Plan, Austrade’s data and research work, developing a digital strategy for Austrade, and managing governance and internal communications.

Rob also has an in-depth knowledge of Australia’s investment environment and deep expertise in working with investors. Rob previously served in The Treasury as the Head of the Foreign Investment and Trade Policy Division and as the Executive Member of the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB). In this role, he had extensive engagement with a wide range of foreign investors and intermediaries making multi-billion dollar investments into Australia. Prior to this role, Rob worked in a range of senior financial and policy roles, in the ACT and Australian Public Service. He served as Treasury’s Chief Financial Officer from 2008 to 2012, and led teams working on income tax and superannuation policy. He also served as Chief Financial Officer to the ACT Department of Education and Training from 2003 to 2008. Rob started his career in the private sector, working in the IT and retail sectors before moving to government. Rob holds degrees in Economics and Commerce from the Australian National University and is a Fellow of CPA Australia.

General Manager, Exporter Services

Sally-Ann Watts is General Manager, Exporter Services within the Australian Trade and Investment Commission. Until recently, and for the 10 months prior, Sally-Ann was (Acting) Deputy CEO, responsible for Austrade’s international network of over 500 staff in 47 countries, as well as the front line export and investment service delivery teams in Australia.

Sally-Ann has worked on and off with Austrade during her career, with several appointments into the private sector, between stints with Austrade, in Australia and overseas. Sally-Ann has extensive overseas experience, having worked in senior roles in Tokyo, Toronto, Los Angeles and until recently Jakarta, where she was both Senior Trade Commissioner, Indonesia as well as General Manager, ASEAN region. 

Sally-Ann has a Bachelor of Arts (Asian Studies), a Graduate Diploma of International Law, and an MBA. She speaks Japanese and Indonesian.

General Manager, Strategy and Design

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Jay Meek has been the General Manager of the Strategy and Design division since May. Jay leads the Strategy and Design team to move forward with Austrade’s transformation journey, as well as setting and implementing Austrade’s vision and strategic direction.

Jay was the Chief Strategy Officer and the Victorian State Director for Austrade from 2018-2019. This role focussed on developing trade and investment strategy for Austrade globally as well as engaging with key stakeholder in Victoria.

Prior to this, Jay was the Deputy Secretary of Trade Victoria, in Victorian Government from September 2015 until April 2018. He led the international trade strategy for Trade Victoria, managing 23 international offices and more than 200 staff. The role focused on international business development, trade policies, market intelligence and export market entry/growth strategies.

Jay holds a BA in Agriculture from the University of Adelaide, and has held a number of high level positions within the State and Federal government agencies.

General Manager, Investments and Sectors

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Peter Horn is the interim General Manager for the Investments and Sectors division. Peter was formerly the Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner and Head of UK, Europe, Russia and Israel for the Australian Trade and Investment Commission.

Peter has 25 years of investment experience in international markets with extensive experience in Europe and Asia. As the founding CEO of JPMorgan Asset Management (Australia) he was part of the Global Management Team for JPMorgan Asset Management. Peter also served as Chairman and CEO of the Institutional Investor group of companies across Asia Pacific.  Earlier in his career Peter was based in London as Head of Equities Europe for CBA (Europe) and also has experience as an analyst with Standard & Poor’s.

Peter started his career with the Productivity Commission in Australia after graduating with a First Class Honours Degree in Economics and from Monash University, Australia.  In the not-for-profit sector, Peter is Chair of Investment Committee for the DCA endowment and is a Non-Executive Director of the Cambodian Rural Development Team, in Phnom Penh.

General Manager, Government Division

Ms Sawczuk is the General Manager of Austrade’s Government Division. She is responsible for driving innovative policy development and policy implementation to support Australian businesses achieve trade and investment outcomes. These outcomes are pursued through strong partnerships across government and with industry. Ms Sawczuk has previously held Senior Executive strategic policy, operational policy and investigations roles related to trade, economics, immigration, manufacturing and compliance in the Department of Home Affairs, Australian Border Force, Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, Anti-Dumping Commission, and Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

General Manager, Digital Innovation and Client Development (acting)

Jessica Hamilton

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Jessica Hamilton is the General Manager for Digital Innovation and Client Development (acting) at the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (or Austrade). Austrade is the Australian Government agency responsible for promoting Australia’s ideas, innovation and capability internationally and creating trade and investment outcomes for business.

In this role, Jessica leads a large team of professionals responsible for the design and development of Austrade digital client services, as well as the technical platforms that support the Agency. The Division also manages the Austrade Advisory (call) centre, an e-commerce offering, Tradestart network and virtual events.

Jessica is an award-winning global marketing and communications professional and strategist, with proven ability to lead diverse teams to achieve organic and inorganic business growth in highly competitive commercial markets.

Jessica thrives on leading change and helping people achieve their potential. She’s lead successful transformation for organisations including IBM, Qantas, Deloitte and now Austrade.

Alongside her professional career, Jessica has been involved with the not-for-profit sector in various board and committee roles for more than 15 years.

Jessica is a Fellow of the Australian Marketing Institute and Certified Practicing Marketer. She is also an accomplished speaker, including her TEDx appearance in 2012.

General Manager, Visitor Economy and Client Programs

Samantha Palmer

Samantha Palmer is the General Manager of Austrade’s Visitor Economy and Client Programs Division leading the nation’s tourism and broader visitor economy policy and programs, and overseeing strategic reforms of Austrade’s client centred grants schemes including the Export Market Development Program. Samantha brings a diverse 20 plus year SES experience having led policy, program and corporate transformations in fair trading and consumer protection, environmental protection and national parks, Indigenous and rural health, land transport and road safety, therapeutic goods, housing, disability, child support and communities roles in the Queensland, WA and Commonwealth governments. She has also run a tourism business and worked in the university and community sectors.

Career highlights include achieving a 79.5% response rate for the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey, leading to the development of the ten year Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan policy framework, and recent ‘cleanskin’ placement as the inaugural Deputy Director General Governance, Integrity and Reform following Australia’s largest public service corruption at WA Communities Department.

Samantha is a National Fellow of the Institute of Public Administration Australia (IPAA), was one of the 2013 AFR/Westpac 100 Women of Influence, and the 2013 Australian Human Resource Institute Diversity Champion of the Year (HR) and continues as an APS Diversity & Inclusion Champion. She serves on the National and ACT IPAA Councils and the Australian (Employers) Network on Disability Board. Sam has a Master of Public Administration and a Bachelor of Business (Communication).

Organisational Chart

Download Austrade's organisational chart (PDF)