Our executive

Our executive team has wide experience in trade and international affairs.

Our executive team has experience across Australian business, international trade and Australia’s diplomatic service.

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 he 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.

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

Photograph of Philippa King

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 then 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.

Deputy CEO, Trade and Investment

Daniel Boyer

Photograph of Daniel Boyer

Daniel Boyer is the Deputy CEO of Trade and Investment, Austrade. Based in Canberra, he leads a global network supporting Australian exporters to expand internationally, and attracting productive international investment. He is responsible for the promotion of trade and investment, and the operations of Austrade’s trade and investment network.

Daniel joined Austrade in 2014 leading the Government and Partnerships Division, and more recently held the role of Austrade’s General Manager and Minister (Commercial) for Greater China, where he led a team of around 100 staff across 12 posts to deliver high quality trade and investment services to Australian and Chinese clients.

Prior to joining Austrade, Daniel worked in a number of Australian Government Agencies, including the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (now Department of Home Affairs) where he was based in Beijing as Regional Director East Asia, responsible for visa operations across North Asia and the Mekong economies.

Daniel holds a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Tasmania, and is passionate about diversity and inclusion.

Chief Operating Officer

Melissa Woodburn

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Melissa Woodburn commenced as the Chief Operating Officer of the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) in December 2022.

Melissa previously held senior leadership roles at the National Disability Insurance Agency, including the Chief Risk Officer and General Manager Finance and Corporate Services. Prior to joining the Australian Public Service, Melissa held senior leadership positions at large professional services firms.

Melissa is a highly experienced Chartered Accountant with extensive experience in financial and corporate management, organisational performance and public sector reform.

Melissa holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) and a Bachelor of Marketing from the University of South Australia and is a Chartered Accountant.

General Manager (Acting), Government and Policy

Damian White

Damian White

Damian White is currently the acting General Manager, Government and Policy Division. This Division leads Austrade’s policy development, economic analysis and data functions and ensures the agency’s alignment with the Government’s strategic objectives.  

Damian joined Austrade in July 2022.  Since that time, he has led the Division's International Relations Branch.

Before joining Austrade, Damian was a career diplomat. He joined the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) in 1999. Damian held posts at the Australian Embassy in Riyadh, the Australian Mission to the United Nations in New York, and the Australian High Commissions in Pretoria and Islamabad.

At DFAT, Damian worked in multiple foreign and trade policy, media and legal roles. He was seconded to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet where he worked on Pacific and multilateral issues in the International Division.

Damian has a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Law (Hons), a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice and a Graduate Diploma in Foreign Affairs and Trade.

General Manager, Simplified Trade, Communication and Marketing

Jessica Hamilton

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

In this role, Jessica leads the global marketing, communication and content teams. These teams are 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, Investment

Peter Horn

Photograph of Peter Horn

Peter Horn is General Manager, Investment responsible for the Australian Trade and Investment Commission’s (Austrade) global investment activities. Peter is also Chair of the National Investment Forum, the peak Commonwealth and State and Territory body overseeing Australia’s foreign investment program. Peter joined Austrade in 2019 as Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner and Head of UK, Europe, Russia and Israel based in Germany.

Peter has 25 years of investment experience and prior to joining Austrade was the Chairman and CEO of the Institutional Investor group of companies across Asia Pacific. Previously Peter was the founding CEO of JPMorgan Asset Management (Australia). Earlier in his career Peter was based in London with CBA (Europe) and Standard & Poor’s.

Peter started his career with the Productivity Commission after graduating with a First Class Honours Degree in Economics 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 (Acting), Digital and Technology Services 

Amanda Chalmers

Photograph of Amanda Chalmers

Amanda Chalmers is the acting General Manager of Austrade’s Digital and Technology Services Division. In this role, Amanda is responsible for a range of key global technology operations including cyber, networks and platforms, end user support as well as transformational activities aimed at developing and enhancing a range of customer-centric digital products, platforms and corporate systems. The division’s teams partner closely with our global stakeholders to deliver contemporary solutions that provide economic opportunities for Australian businesses and open the doors of investment into Australia. 

Amanda has held executive leadership roles within state government, Australian Government, the community sector as well as the private sector. Most recently Amanda headed up the Public Sector Team for Thoughtworks, a global software development company, who partnered with the NSW State Government to develop Australia’s first Digital Birth Certificate App. Just prior to that, Amanda held senior roles in the Queensland State Government including the General Manager Customer and Digital Strategy, responsible for whole of government Digital Strategy, Policy, Architecture and Investment Governance. She was also the Executive Director of Design and Capability, responsible for government-wide service design and product development including key responses to the pandemic, along with digital capability uplift in the public sector.

Amanda holds a Bachelor of Behavioural Science and a Graduate Diploma Psychology, a Graduate Diploma of Housing Management and Policy, a Certificate in Digital Strategies for Business from Columbia Business School and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. 

General Manager, Trade

Jay Meek

Photograph of Jay Meek

Jay Meek is the General Manager for Trade 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, Visitor Economy and Client Programs

Samantha Palmer

Photograph of Samantha Palmer

Samantha Palmer has been the General Manager of Austrade’s Visitor Economy and Client Programs Division since April 2021. Samantha leads the nation’s tourism and visitor economy policy and programs as well as Austrade’s Export Market Development Grant program. She is also Austrade’s Global Diversity and Inclusion Champion.

Samantha brings 35-plus years of diverse experience with more than 25 in senior executive service roles. She has led policy, programs and corporate transformations in the Queensland, WA and Commonwealth governments in many areas relevant to the visitor economy. These areas include fair trading and consumer protection, environmental protection and national parks, land transport and road safety, housing, disability, and Indigenous communities. She has also run a tourism business and worked in the arts, 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 being appointed the ‘cleanskin’ 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 was elected Secretary of the National Institute of Public Administration Australia (the professional body for public servants) in 2024 having served on both National and ACT IPAA Councils for some time. She has a Master of Public Administration and a Bachelor of Business (Communication).