Our executive

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

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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

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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, Government and Policy

Sam Guthrie

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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 and Investment Commission in Hong Kong and 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, 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

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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, Digital and Technology Services

Martin Mane

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

Martin was previously the Assistant Commissioner at the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and was responsible for Strategy, Design and 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.

General Manager, Trade

Jay Meek

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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 30-plus years of diverse experience with more than 20 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 serves on the National and ACT IPAA Councils. She has a Master of Public Administration and a Bachelor of Business (Communication).