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Corporate Ladder: your weekly guide to executive appointments


South Australia’s premier executive appointments column tracks the movements of those driving the state’s public and private sectors. Plus the latest executive recruitment opportunities.

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From the United Arab Emirates to SA

The Cohen Group – which is behind a range of commercial properties across Adelaide, including Burnside Village – has named Gregg Downer as its new CEO.

He replaces John Blunt, who has been appointed as an independent non-executive director on the Cohen Group board. Blunt spent the past three years leading the Group following more than a decade as CEO of SA property group Makris Group.

In a statement, The Cohen Group said Downer would return to his home state of South Australia to take up the role in mid-May following 15 years in the property industry in the United Arab Emirates.

The new CEO has held a number of senior roles in the real estate sector overseas and in South Australia, including as General Manager of property developer Kinsmen Developments SA and NT.

Cohen Group Director Andrew Cohen said Downer would bring “big-thinking, major development experience, deep construction expertise and an excellent management and service track record” to the role.

Amanda McIlroy

Adelaide City Council names new COO

SAHMRI’s inaugural Chief Operating Officer Amanda McIlroy has stepped away from the position to join the City of Adelaide as Chief Operating Officer. A spokesperson for the council said she would replace Justin Lynch who had been acting in the position.

In a statement, Adelaide City Council said McIlroy would “maintain a focus on financial sustainability, ensure value in the expenditure of public money, enhance public trust in our effective and efficient services, and help drive a growth-led COVID-19 recovery for the organisation and for the City”.

It comes as the council prepares to claw back millions of dollars lost during the coronavirus pandemic.

McIlroy oversaw the development of the first SAHMRI building as the institute's inaugural COO and helped secure funding for the second SAHMRI building, which is set to house Australia’s first proton therapy machine for cancer treatment.

She previously held senior leadership roles with consulting firms Ernst & Young and Deloitte and has experience in working with corporate, state and local governments and the not-for-profit sector.

SAHMRI said it would not be replacing McIlroy.

Mal Hemmerling
Glen Browne

Hemmerling to lead local facility management firm

Facility management service company ServiceFM has announced former Adelaide City Council and Sydney Olympics CEO Mal Hemmerling will lead its inaugural board.

ServiceFM launched last month following the merger of SA-based commercial cleaning firm Academy Services with electrical compliance company eSafe and facilities property management business Universal FM.

Hemmerling comes to the role after 40 years across the private and public sectors, including as CEO of Playford and Adelaide City councils and Bob Jane Corporation, and as Executive Director of the Adelaide 36ers.

From 1995-1998 he was also CEO of the Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games and previously spent a decade as the Adelaide F1 Grand Prix boss.

Most recently, he has chaired Adelaide-based development firm Hemmerling Pollock Wilson.

Jennifer Ma
Mauro Viola

ServiceFM founder Glen Browne, ServiceFM Revenue Director Mauro Viola and Chapman Capital Partners Managing Director Jennifer Ma, join Hemmerling on the board.

Browne founded what is now ServiceFM in 1979 and remains an Executive Director for the company while Viola has been with the ServiceFM for more than two decades.

Ma has spent the past two years as Chapman Capital Partners Managing Director, after 20 years with KPMG including as a Partner and head of the SA Corporate Finance practice.

Corporate Position: the latest executive employment opportunities

With operations across California, Westfield, New York and Loxton Australia, The Wine Group is the world’s third-largest wine company and is looking for a Winemaking Manager. Reporting to the General Manager, this critical role will be responsible for driving the strategic planning and production of wine, juice and juice products for both export and domestic markets. Applications are encouraged from winemaking professionals with a sound understanding of fruit assessment, analysis and logistic processes. Accommodation assistance is available to support a smooth transition to the Riverland.

National registered NDIS and Home Care Package provider HenderCare has an opportunity for an ICT Manager. Reporting to the Chief Financial Officer, this critical role will be responsible for the day-to-day ICT operations and performance, and longer term technology strategy and execution. HenderCare is looking for a suitably qualified ICT professional with experience in a comparable role across a geographically dispersed business. The successful candidate will possess strong project management skills and the interpersonal qualities to work with a range of internal and external stakeholders.

The City of Salisbury has two senior career opportunities. The General Manager Community Development is part of the Executive Leadership Team, reporting to the CEO, and is responsible for delivering social and community outcomes and developing relevant policy initiatives which support the needs of a diverse community. This is one of the most significant and unique positions of its kind within the Local Government sector. The Manager Governance also reports to the CEO and leads the Governance Services portfolio. Key responsibilities include ensuring Council and Organisational governance is compliant with legislative and policy requirements.

An exciting and rare opportunity has emerged at Kooyonga Golf Club for a dynamic hospitality executive to be the Clubhouse Operations Manager following the re-opening of the redeveloped clubhouse in February 2021. Reporting directly to the General Manager, Kooyonga seeks a highly capable individual with a passion for hospitality to lead from the front and set service standards that exceed member expectations.

Operating since 1972, Cavpower is a proud South Australian-owned and operated family business representing Caterpillar products. The Marketing Manager will be the brand custodian and partner with the leadership team to develop and implement marketing initiatives focused on the promotion and growth of dealership operations including, new machine, parts and service sales. Reporting directly to the Chief Operating Officer, key responsibilities of this pivotal hands-on role include developing, executing and assessing the effectiveness of online marketing and engagement strategies, and leading the e-commerce strategy to drive online sales.

Nick Chigwidden
Dennis Laundy

NFP movements

Former Glenelg Football Club President Nick Chigwidden has taken the reins of South Australian charity Youth Opportunities as Chair, replacing Dennis Laundy.

Laundy, who will remain on the board, said the move was a strategic decision as the organisation prepares to expand.

Chingwidden spent seven years heading Glenelg Football Club and a further seven as a Director. In this time he has also worked as CEO of South Australian physiotherapy group PhysioXtra where he is CEO.

He previously spent more than a decade as General Sales Manager at DMG Radio, now known as Nova Entertainment.

“Having Nick bring his experience as a leading SA business owner and past Chair of Glenelg Football Club will help us to further our vital work and reach more young people, at a time where their wellbeing, resilience and futures are being tested like never before,” Youth Opportunities SA CEO Erin Faehrmann said.

Nick Wagner
Paul Bauer

SA-based youth organisation the Sammy D Foundation has appointed four new directors: Nick Wagner, Paul Bauer, Steven Yeo and Mireille Bucher.

Wagner has joined the foundation as a finance director. He is the acting Chief Financial Officer at ASX-listed food manufacturing business Beston Global Foods and has spent more than 15 years working for ASX-listed and multinational service companies in Australia and overseas.

He has also held governance roles in sporting and educational organisations, including as Finance Director of HockeySA for three years.

Bauer has spent the past 25 years working in professional sporting organisations across a range of different roles and is currently the General Manager Commercial at the Adelaide Football Club. He previously worked at the Adelaide 36ers as a player and an administrator.

Steven Yeo
Mireille Bucher

Yeo has held various finance positions across SA’s health sector – including as COO for HPS Pharmacies and General Manager of St John Ambulance – and senior positions within publicly listed companies, professional partnership organisations and not-for-profits. His previous board positions include with disability organisation SA Group Enterprises and cardiac arrest NFP Australian Hearts.

Bucher has helped lead business development at Guide Dogs SA/NT for the past 18 months following a number of senior roles with Adelaide aged care and health companies. She is also Chairperson of the Sports Management Committee for Aerobic Gymnastics in South Australia and has previously mentored young women through the YWCA Australia She Leads program.

Government appointment

The State Government has appointed Michael Harvey as Director of the Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium, replacing Lucy Sutherland from July for a three-year term.

Harvey has over 20 years of experience working across the museum sector, including the past eight years as assistant director and chief experience officer at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney.

He has also previously worked in management roles at the National History Museum in London and the Australian Museum in Sydney.

Harvey said he looked forward to building on Sutherland’s work.

“At a time when we are all re-evaluating our relationships with the natural world, institutions such as the Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium have a fundamental role in building deeper connections with nature’s beauty and complexity,” he said.

“Along with my family, I am excited to be coming to a city and a community that is so renowned for natural and built heritage and a deep cultural vibrancy.”

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