Our Organisation

Chief Executive Officer

Xavier Simonet

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

Xavier 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, Xavier 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.

Xavier 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

Tim Beresford

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Tim Beresford is the Deputy CEO of Austrade. He takes strategic leadership for the promotion of trade and investment opportunities. He also has operational responsibility for Austrade’s onshore trade and investment teams, and offshore network. Tim was acting CEO of Austrade from June 2020 to April 2021.

Prior to re-joining Austrade in 2018, Tim was the Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Macquarie University. He had responsibility for and oversight of operations, and international student recruitment and engagement. Before that, he was Austrade’s Executive Director for Tourism, Investment, Education and Programmes.

Tim was formerly 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. He has also worked 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.

Deputy CEO, Digital Services and Outreach

Philippa King

Philippa-King_web

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Philippa King is the Deputy CEO, Digital Services and Outreach. Philippa 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 is responsible for engagement, and works across federal, as well as state and territory governments. It will provide economic analysis and evaluation, and marketing and global communications.

Philippa was until recently General Manager for Government and Public Policy at the National Australia Bank (NAB). She joined the bank in January 2019. Prior to joining NAB she was Senior International Adviser to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and before that Director of Social Policy for the New South Wales Premier, Mike Baird.

While in government, Philippa was a career diplomat. She joined the Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) in 1995. Her most recent posting was as Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative, Australian Mission to the United Nations, New York. This posting coincided with Australia’s term on the Security Council. Prior to that she was State Director of the New South Wales State Office of DFAT.

Her previous postings were to the Australian High Commission in London covering strategic policy issues, and at the UN in Geneva covering disarmament issues. She has worked in various parts of DFAT in Canberra, including on counter-terrorism issues, trade negotiations, in the UN and legal divisions, and in the office of then-Foreign Minister Alexander Downer.

Philippa has a Bachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Law, and a Masters in International Relations.

Chief Operating Officer

Rob Donelly

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Rob Donelly is the Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Austrade. He is responsible for Finance, Human Resources, IT operations, and a portfolio that includes Legal, Property and Security, Governance, Strategic Projects and Change. In addition, he is executive sponsor of the International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM).

Rob brings a depth of knowledge in business operations at Austrade and in corporate roles. He is driving the Corporate Services Optimisation Program, which aims to improve the service offering of support functions. As General Manager Strategy and Business Transformation during 2018, Rob was responsible for embedding the Austrade Strategy 2018–2022 throughout the business, as well as leading an ambitious business transformation plan. He also led Austrade’s data and research work, developed a digital strategy for Austrade, and managed governance and internal communications.

Rob has an in-depth knowledge of Australia’s investment environment and deep expertise in working with investors. Rob previously served in Treasury as the Head of the Foreign Investment and Trade Policy Division and as the Executive Member of the Foreign Investment Review Board. In this role, he engaged extensively with a wide range of foreign investors and intermediaries who were 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 the Australian Public Service (APS). 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. He is a Fellow of CPA Australia, and a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

General Manager, Trade

Sally-Ann Watts

Sally-Ann Watts is General Manager of Trade within Austrade. Until recently – and for the past year – Sally-Ann was acting Deputy CEO. She was responsible for Austrade’s international network of over 500 staff in 47 countries. She was also responsible for frontline export and investment service delivery teams in Australia.

Sally-Ann has worked on and off with Austrade during her career. Between stints with Austrade, she has held several appointments in the private sector in Australia and overseas. Sally-Ann has extensive overseas experience, having worked in senior roles in Tokyo, Toronto, Los Angeles and until recently Jakarta. In Jakarta, she was both Senior Trade Commissioner, Indonesia and 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, High Growth Export Services

Jay Meek

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Jay Meek is the General Manager for High Growth Export Services at Austrade, which assists Australian exporters to grow internationally further and faster.

Jay was formerly the General Manager of Strategy and Design, where he supported the development and implementation of Austrade’s vision and strategic direction.

Prior to joining Austrade, Jay was the Deputy Secretary of Trade Victoria in the Victorian Government where he managed 23 international offices and more than 200 staff.

Jay holds a Bachelor of Arts in Agriculture from the University of Adelaide. He has held a number of senior commercial and government positions in his career.

General Manager, Investments and Sectors

Peter Horn

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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, Digital Innovation and Client Development (Acting)

Jessica Hamilton

Jessica Hamilton

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Jessica Hamilton is the acting General Manager for Digital and Group Services and the Gender Champion for Diversity & Inclusion at Austrade.

In this role, Jessica leads a large team of professionals responsible for the design, development and delivery 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, the TradeStart network and virtual events.

Jessica is an award-winning global marketing and communications professional and strategist. She has a 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 has led successful transformation programs at 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 a 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

Samantha Palmer is the General Manager of Austrade’s Visitor Economy and Client Programs Division. She leads the nation’s tourism and broader visitor economy policy and programs. She also oversees strategic reforms to Austrade’s client-centred grants schemes including the Export Market Development Grant program.

Samantha brings 20-plus years of diverse experience in senior executive service roles. She has led policy programs and corporate transformations in in the Queensland, WA and Commonwealth governments in numerous areas, including 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. 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 the development of the 10-year Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan policy framework; and a recent ‘cleanskin’ placement as the inaugural Deputy Director General Governance, Integrity and Reform following Australia’s largest public service corruption incident at the WA Communities Department.

Samantha is a National Fellow of the Institute of Public Administration Australia (IPAA). She was one of the 2013 Australian Financial Review/Westpac 100 Women of Influence, and the 2013 Australian Human Resource Institute Diversity Champion of the Year (HR). She continues as an APS Diversity & Inclusion Champion.

Samantha 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)