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SA’s top bureaucrat banks another ex-colleague

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A third ex-Bank SA executive is heading for a senior role at the state’s Department of Premier and Cabinet, amid a spate of top-tier appointments.

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Fledgling agency CEO Nick Reade, the former head of Bank SA, has already brought a former colleague into the fold with the June appointment of the bank’s one-time head of corporate affairs, Jayne Flaherty, to a senior strategic communications role.

At the time, further new executive roles were flagged, with one of them now to be filled by Mike Diakomichalis – who was most recently Bank SA’s Director and Business Manager to the Chief Executive, a role he finished in July, according to his LinkedIn.

Before that he spent two decades at the bank’s parent company Westpac, most recently in a lengthy stint as State Business & Operations Manager of Retail Banking across SA, the Northern Territory and Tasmania.

He’s now been appointed as the Premier’s department’s Executive Director of Customer Experience, responsible for leading “an across-government customer experience program that makes it easier to do business with government”.

Also appointed to new roles were Brenton Caffin and Alison Lloydd-Wright.

Caffin, the Premier’s new Executive Director of Strategy and Policy will be responsible for “driving comprehensive economic, population and technology strategy and policy, and overseeing a rigorous program management function”.

He was most recently Executive Director of States of Change, which flags itself as “helping governments around the world to build the next generation of public innovation”.

Lloydd-Wright has held various senior bureaucratic roles across several departments, and will now become executive director of the cabinet office, replacing Ruth Ambler who is moving to the Department of Human Services.

Ambler was thrust into the public spotlight shortly after the 2018 election, when she shifted five cabinet office bureaucrats out of the department, all of whom had previously held roles within the offices of senior Labor ministers, including former Premier Jay Weatherill.

She told a parliamentary committee at the time the decision to remove them had been taken by her, in consultation with former chief executive Don Russell (who was later sacked by incoming Premier Steven Marshall) and his interim replacement, Ranieri.

“I made a decision that to ensure the impartiality of cabinet office those individuals needed to be moved to other positions,” she said at the time, adding that the office must be “seen to be impartial”.

Reade said of his new appointments today: “The State Government is committed to delivering on its priorities of driving economic growth in South Australia, making the government easier to do business with, and fostering a safe and thriving community.”

“I’m delighted that DPC has attracted the knowledge, skills and wealth of experience we need to deliver on these priorities,” he said.

The agency says all the executives were appointed following “merit-based selection processes”.

It follows a recent appearance by Reade at parliament’s Budget and Finance Committee, in which he was asked whether he had brought staff “over to the public sector” that he had “worked with at BankSA”, and to which he responded: “No.”

“I haven’t needed to employ anybody, so it hasn’t been an issue to concern me at this point,” he said in June.

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