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, Policy and Programs

Philippa King

Philippa-King_web

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Philippa King is the Deputy CEO, Policy and Programs. 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.

Sally-Ann has worked with Austrade at several points during her career, interspersed with appointments in shipping and long period with KPMG Consulting. At Austrade, Sally-Ann has been appointed to multiple roles in Australia, including recently as a/g Deputy CEO for Trade and Investment and Austrade’s overseas network.

Sally-Ann also has extensive overseas experience,  including with Austrade as Senior Trade Commissioner in Tokyo, Toronto, Los Angeles and Jakarta. In her two most recent overseas appointments, Sally-Ann was STC USA leading 40 staff, and from Jakarta, Sally-Ann was both Senior Trade Commissioner, Indonesia and General Manager, ASEAN, leading a team of over 100 staff trade and investment staff across 9 offices in the region.

Sally-Ann is currently leading a major project to streamline and modernise Austrade’s services to exporters across all channels.

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.

Acting DCEO, Trade and Investment

Peter Horn

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Peter Horn is the Acting DCEO, Trade and Investment. 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, External Communication and Marketing

Jessica Hamilton

Jessica Hamilton

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Jessica Hamilton is the General Manager for External Communication and Marketing at the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade).

In this role, Jessica leads the global marketing, communication and content teams; a group of strong, creative and hard-working professionals committed to creating value that provides direct support to the creation of trade and investment outcomes that help Australian businesses rebuild and renew out of COVID-19 and grow Australia's economic prosperity. 

As an award-winning global marketing and communications professional and strategist, Jessica has proven her 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. To date, she has led 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 roles for more than 15 years. 

Jessica is a proud Fellow of the Australian Marketing Institute and Certified Practicing Marketer. She is also an accomplished speaker, including a 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 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).  

Samantha serves on the National and ACT IPAA Councils. Sam has a Master of Public Administration and a Bachelor of Business (Communication).

General Manager, Government and Policy

Sam Guthrie

Sam Guthrie - photo 

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Sam Guthrie is Austrade’s General Manager for Government and Policy.  His division leads Austrade’s policy development function and ensures the agency’s alignment with government strategic objectives.  Sam leads Austrade’s engagement across government including Ministerial and Cabinet, Parliamentary and the broader bureaucracy. His division supports the government’s trade and investment agenda by bringing the voice of Austrade’s international posts and business clients to the policy table.   

Sam brings to Austrade close to 20 years diverse experience in corporate affairs, diplomacy, international business development and stakeholder relations.   An experienced counsellor of Cabinet Ministers, senior policy makers, CEOs and Boards, he is accustomed to providing advice against the backdrop of geo strategic uncertainty and fluid political and regulatory environments, navigating the nexus between business and policy. 

Sam has shown a core ability to build communication, consensus and commitment across complex stakeholder audiences. He has applied this experience as a senior diplomat, heading the Australian Trade & Investment Commission in Hong Kong & Macau, and as a member of AGL’s Executive Leadership Team navigating Australia’s largest generator through the complexities of the energy transition and emerging climate change policy.  Prior to this Sam was an Associate Partner with Newgate Communications advising some of Australia’s most well-known companies on major transactions and high profile issues.  He began his career reviving the corporate reputation of the iconic Woolmark brand leading an international team of business development managers across the Americas, Europe, Middle East and Asia.

General Manager, Digital Services

Martin Mane

Martin-Mane 

Martin Mane is General Manager of Austrade’s Digital Services Division.

Martin was previously the Assistant Commissioner at the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and was responsible for Strategy, Design & Architecture. His extensive experience includes digital and technology initiatives such as myGov, Single Touch Payroll and e-invoicing.

In addition to these transformation projects, Martin established the ATO's digital partnership office to work with industry and contributed to the Federal Government's COVID-19 stimulus response. Martin has also led teams investigating new technologies such as blockchain, robotic process automatic and artificial intelligence that help to deliver high quality services to the Australian community.