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Corporate Ladder: your weekly guide to executive appointments


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

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Professor Jennie Shaw

Adelaide Uni appoints new deputy VC

The University of Adelaide has appointed Professor Jennie Shaw as its new Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Academic Vice President.

The appointment is a step up for Shaw, who since June 2020 has been serving as the university’s acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) alongside her long-time role as Executive Dean of the Faculty of Arts.

With a background in music teaching, she has previously held head of school roles with the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and the University of New England in Australia, the latter where she was Pro Vice-Chancellor from 2010 to 2013.

Adelaide University says her new role will involve developing new courses and innovating teaching and learning while improving student experience.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Høj said Shaw has maintained a “strong focus” on student welfare and academic success during her eight-year stint with the university.

“Taking on two senior full-time roles for more than a year – and doing so during the disruption of a global pandemic, at a critical and vulnerable time for our university – says much about Jennie’s commitment to the University of Adelaide, and her commitment to our students and staff,” Høj said.

Shaw’s appointment followed a national and international search, according to the university, and she will remain in her Executive Dean position with the Faculty of Arts until September 24.

Steven Baldas

‘Dream job’ for former State Govt adviser

Talent management agency W Sports & Media has appointed Steven Baldas, a former adviser to Sports Minister Corey Wingard, as their new CEO.

Baldas decided to take on the leadership role with the firm after a year and a half in Wingard’s office as a ministerial adviser for sports, recreation and racing.

During his time with the State Government, he was involved in projects such as the redevelopment of Hindmarsh Stadium and Memorial Drive and the new $49 million headquarters for the South Australian Sport Institute in Mile End.

Baldas told InDaily he felt “very blessed and fortunate” to have been involved in these infrastructure projects, and

“What I have learned is just how important it is to understand how government works and how decisions are made,” he said.

“Having that really strong, solid understanding of how government works, how government departments work and how they interact with each other is extremely valuable and something I know I’ll be drawing upon for the rest of my career.”

W Sport & Media was established in 2014 and has offices in Adelaide and Melbourne. The talent management agency has more than 50 clients across sports and entertainment, including high-profile figures Brodie Smith, Eddie Betts, Lleyton Hewitt and Kyle Chalmers.

Baldas, who is also a former Tennis Australia CEO and SACA Chief Operations Officer, said his main focus in his new leadership role would be delivering outcomes for the agency’s clients and then growing the business.

“I love sport, I’m just so passionate about it – my whole life,” he said.

“I’ve been in sports administration whether it be Tennis SA or SACA, and now to be on the other side and working directly with athletes and media personalities – I feel this is my dream job and I’m just excited to get into it.”

His appointment comes after former W Sports & Media CEO John Didulica left the firm in July after winning the Director of Football role at Melbourne Victory.

Kate Gould

ASO chair steps down

Adelaide Symphony Orchestra Chair Kate Gould is stepping down from the role after being appointed CEO and Artistic Director of Brisbane Powerhouse.

Gould, whose three-year term as ASO Chair expires this month, said the recent string of border closures and snap lockdowns had forced her to make the decision.

“Given the uncertainty around COVID and the prospect of it continuing for some time still, I feel that I can no longer perform the role of ASO Chair to the level required at this important time for the organisation,” she said in a statement.

“It certainly had been my intention and desire to continue as Chair of the ASO, but I suspect interstate travel will remain a challenge for some time to come.”

During her time as ASO Chair, Gould was Executive Director of Tasmania’s Dark Mofo – the winter festival of Hobart’s Museum of Old and New Art – while also running her own consultancy firm Kate Gould and Associates.

She has held a number of high-profile roles in SA including former CEO and Associate Artistic Director of the Adelaide Festival as well as board appointments with the Adelaide Football Club, Rundle Mall Management Authority and the Premier’s Council for Women.

ASO Managing Director Vincent Ciccarello said Gould had been a “terrific advocate and ambassador” for the organisation, particularly in its push for a concert hall to replace the Adelaide Town Hall as its most regular performance venue.

“We want to thank Kate for her contribution to the ASO and know that she will continue to wave the flag for us, and wish her every success in her new roles at the Brisbane Powerhouse,” he said.

ASO Director and Governance Committee Chair Andrew Daniels will temporarily replace Gould while the organisation searches for its new Chair.

Corporate Position: the latest executive employment opportunities

Burnside Hospital is one of South Australia’s leading private healthcare providers with a dedicated workforce of approximately 400 employees. Reporting directly to the CEO and as a key member of the Executive Leadership Team, the Director Finance and Corporate Services will be responsible for the leadership, management and delivery of the finance and broader corporate services function which includes administration and payroll, medical records, information technology, procurement and engineering and maintenance. Applications are encouraged from appropriately qualified CA/CPA professionals with experience managing a broader corporate services function. Previous experience from a comparable healthcare environment will be well regarded but is not essential.

With around 300 staff and a turnover of $20m, disAbility Living Inc is a values-based organisation providing choices for living, a holistic approach to support and expanding horizons for over 460 clients across 12 sites. Reporting to the newly appointed CEO and as a key member of the Executive Team, the General Manager People & Culture will lead and manage disAbility Living’s organisational development strategy. The appointee will be instrumental in promoting and modelling a positive and collaborative workplace culture, creating and implementing an effective internal communications strategy and supporting managers. Proven human resources professionals with relevant experience leading, managing and inspiring a broad people and culture function in a complex entity are encouraged to apply. A competitive senior remuneration package will be offered to secure a consummate and dynamic professional.

A large and diversified community facing organisation is seeking an experienced ICT professional to manage a team of technical specialists in the delivery of high quality systems and service across the business. This critical role will be responsible for the day-to-day ICT operations and performance, and longer term technology strategy and execution. Applications are sought from ICT professionals with demonstrated experience in a comparable leadership role and the successful candidate will possess strong project management and change management skills and the interpersonal qualities to work with a range of internal and external stakeholders. An attractive remuneration package is on offer.

David Place

Retirement for ambos boss

South Australian Ambulance Service CEO David Place is retiring after three years at the helm of the agency and 26 years with the service in total.

In an email sent to all staff last Monday, Place said he would leave the executive role at the end of his tenure on September 3.

“I was due for retirement when I took on this role but was thrilled by the opportunity to lead an organisation that I had grown up in,” he wrote.

“Now, it is simply time for me to dust off those retirement plans, to enjoy time with my family, explore Australia and rekindle my love of scuba diving.”

SAAS Executive Director of Operations (Metropolitan), Rob Elliott, will temporarily take over as CEO of the agency as it looks for a new leader.

Place has overseen an embattled ambulance service embroiled in a long-running industrial dispute over resourcing with members of the Ambulance Employees Association.

The dispute reached an uneasy ceasefire in May when the State Government agreed to fund 74 extra paramedics in exchange for reforms to rostering.

Place acknowledged there have “certainly been ups and downs in the past three years”.

“Despite a significant number of recent changes across the health system, there is no denying that there is much more to be done,” he said.

“I am hopeful that I leave behind a strong foundation for SAAS to continue to reform and improve the way we do things.”

SA Health CEO Dr Chris McGowan thanked Place for successfully leading the SAAS through the pandemic, and for introducing reforms to how triple-zero calls are managed.

“His vision for SAAS to be integrated with the broader health system – not just picking up patients and taking them to hospital – and embracing opportunities created by better use of technology have defined his time as leader of SAAS,” McGowan said.

“He has united a strong leadership team at SAAS and will leave behind the organisation now better placed to deal with future challenges.”

Place is the second SAAS executive to leave the agency in as many weeks, after Julia Waddington-Powell, formerly the service’s Executive Director of Operations (Country, Rescue Retrieval & Aviation Services), left to become the new CEO of the South Australian Fire and Emergency Commission.

Sam Vial
Josh Dolan

Hiring spree for Adelaide LED start-up

Adelaide LED start-up VALO has made four appointments to expand its team from six to 10 as it looks to bring its electronics manufacturing operations to South Australia.

The Kent Town engineering firm, founded in 2014 by Indaily's 40 Under 40 alumnus Aaron Hickmann, supplies LED lighting systems to commercial and industrial clients – among them the Adelaide 36ers at the Titanium Security Arena.

The company, which currently manufactures its products in Asia, says three of its new hires are joining the firm’s new commercial division in a bid to accelerate growth.

Long-time South Australian businessman Sam Vial has been brought on to lead the commercial team as Chief Commercial Officer.

Vial joins after nine years working with component manufacturers Motherson Group, most recently as Chief Commercial Officer of Motherson Medical.

A UniSA graduate, Vial has held senior commercial roles at companies in Japan, the US and the UK working across sales and procurement.

Working under Vial will be Josh Dolan, who has been brought on as VALO’S new Business Development Manager.

Dolan’s previous experience spans across multiple companies in the construction sector, including national manufacturing firm Sustainable Infrastructure Systems, stone suppliers CDK Stone and property/tourism company Quest Serviced Apartments.

He is touted by his new employers as highly experienced in project management, property development and marketing.

Michael LeVene is the third senior appointment at VALO, joining as Product Development Executive.

LeVene has spent the best part of the last five years as an ICT Business Manager with APC Integration – an industrial automation and custom software company based in Adelaide.

With a background in electronics engineering, he has also held roles with Vision Systems, Brook Engineering, the Water Industry Alliance and Tindo Solar.

VALO has also brought on long-time SA Water coordinator Jodie Mason as Office Manager.

Hickmann said VALO expects to grow to 30 employees by 2022 as it expands into 3D printing, advanced manufacturing and commercial drone services.

“It’s been a long-held vision to bring VALO’s electronic manufacturing to South Australia with industry 4.0, and we are gearing up to launch the new facility later this year,” the CEO said.

“Our new Commercial team is just the beginning, with a significant pipeline due to infrastructure investment across the country.”

John Oliver

HomeStart looks for fresh start

State Government backed lender HomeStart Finance is on the lookout for a new CEO after long-time Chief Executive John Oliver announced he will step back from full-time corporate work at the end of the year.

Oliver has led the non-bank home loan provider since 2009, after leaving his role as State Manager of Bendigo and Adelaide Bank.

His more than 30 years in the South Australian finance sector has seen him take on managerial positions with the Commonwealth, Bendigo and Adelaide Bank.

He is also the current Chair of Guide Dogs SA/NT and a former member of the Real Estate Institute of SA’s Professional Standards Committee.

Oliver said he would be leaving with the “blessing of the HomeStart Board” as he charts the next stage of his career.

“I will be leaving proud of all that we have achieved over the past decade or so, and with absolute confidence that all members of the HomeStart team will continue to deliver the great results for our customers that we have done since establishment in 1989,” Oliver said.

HomeStart Chair Jim Kouts said the balance sheet of the finance firm had increased $800 million under Oliver’s leadership.

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