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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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Hieu Van Le
Jim Hazel

Governor reveals retirement plans

South Australia’s 35th Governor Hieu Van Le has revealed his first post-retirement endeavour – becoming a trustee of the Adelaide Festival Centre.

The 67-year-old former Vietnamese refugee, who on Tuesday marked his final day in Government House after seven years in the state’s highest office, is expected to be elevated as Chair of the performing arts venue early next year.

He will succeed current Chair Jim Hazel, who said the Adelaide Festival Centre Trust was “extremely fortunate” to bring Le on board.

“His passion for multiculturalism and inclusion will help us take arts experiences to more South Australians in every part of the state and ensure Adelaide Festival Centre continues to be the true heart of the arts here in SA,” Hazel said.

A patron of more than 200 organisations, Le has been a long-time supporter of the Festival Centre’s OzAsia Festival.

The former Governor said he was looking forward to working with the trust to navigate the centre through “the current challenges that COVID-19 continues to throw at us” and return it to “the business of bringing entertainment and arts to all”.

“This will involve working closely with all South Australians, from all backgrounds and walks of life and making sure that AFCT programs are as inclusive as possible,” Le said.

Le settled in Adelaide in December 1977 before studying at the University of Adelaide and embarking on a successful career with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

In 2007 he was appointed Lieutenant-Governor of South Australia, serving seven years in the position under then-Governor Kevin Scarce.

He was sworn in as Governor on September 1, 2014, on the recommendation of former Premier Jay Weatherill.

Former Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Secretary Frances Adamson will be sworn in as South Australia’s 36th Governor in early October.

Peta Willmott

Board movements at GPSA

Grain Producers SA has appointed Eyre Peninsula grain farmer and Kimba councillor Peta Willmott to the association’s board.

The grain farming peak body, which represents around 4500 grain farming businesses in South Australia, announced the decision at its Annual General Meeting in Hahndorf last week.

Willmott is a grain producer in the Koongawa region on the Eyre Peninsula where she farms with her husband Dean.

She is also a sitting councillor at the District Council of Kimba and Treasurer of the Buckleboo Farm Improvement Group.

Her appointment at GPSA follows the retirement of fellow Eyre Peninsula farmer Jared Sampson from the association’s board earlier this year.

Sampson held the director role for four years after being appointed to the board in August 2017.

GPSA Chair Adrian McCabe said Willmott is “well-respected” in both the grains industry and on the Eyre Peninsula, and is an ideal replacement for Sampson.

“She brings to the Board of GPSA an enormous wealth of experience and expertise, particularly in the area of governance,” McCabe said.

The Chairman also thanked Sampson for his time with GPSA, highlighting the outgoing director’s role in promoting rural mental health and leading the GPSA’s mining taskforce.

Willmott said she was looking forward to using her role at the GPSA to contribute to a “profitable and sustainable grains industry”.

“There is such a vast amount of experience in that room – I am looking forward to expanding my governance skills by working alongside the other Directors,” she said.

She also highlighted rural labour shortages as a key focus during her first term as director.

Dr Milena Dryza

Homecoming for Adelaide attorney

Patent Attorney Dr Milena Dryza is returning to her hometown as a Senior Associate at Patent Attorney and Trade Mark firm Madderns.

A Flinders University graduate with a PhD in Organic Chemistry, Dryza has spent the last 13 years of her career in Melbourne – most recently as an in-house patent counsel with biotechnology company CSL.

That role came after starting as a trainee with Melbourne-based international firm FPA Patent Attorneys – earlier known as Freehills – where she spent more than 10 years and was eventually promoted to Senior Associate.

An intellectual property law specialist, Dryza’s new role at Madderns – South Australia’s largest patent and trademark firm – will see her taking a leadership role in their life sciences and chemistry team.

Recently appointed Madderns Managing Director Dr Jeff Holman said Dryza “fits the bill perfectly” and touted her as a “high calibre attorney with commercial experience in private practice”.

“Mel is a great addition to the strong life sciences and chemistry team at Madderns and it is pleasing to be able to bring talented people back to South Australia from interstate and to play our part in contributing to our strong local life sciences sector.”

Corporate Position: the latest executive employment opportunities

Based in Glossop in the Riverland, CCW Co-operative Limited was established in 1918 and is today Australia’s largest wine grape co-operative with a turnover of circa $90m and well over 530 growers, producing in excess of 200,000 tonnes per annum, representing 12% of Australia’s production. An outstanding opportunity presents for an accomplished leader to continue the heritage, culture and identity of the Co-operative as Chief Executive Officer. Reporting to and working closely with the Board and Members, the CEO will be the public face of CCW and take primary responsibility for ensuring long term sustainability of the organisation while growing members’ prosperity.  While senior management experience in the wine industry will be highly desirable, exposure to growing, processing and global marketing of commodity products will be valuable. There is an expectation the successful candidate will ideally live and work in the Riverland and add value to this significant contributor to the local economy.

Celebrating over 800 years of tradition and the search for Truth, Blackfriars Priory School remains the Dominican Friars only Australian school. Founded in 1953 on the northern fringe of the Adelaide business district, Blackfriars provides modern facilities with world-class tuition for around 760 boys from ELC (co-ed) to Year 12. The School is looking for a Deputy Principal Secondary to lead the operations of the Secondary School and oversee both pastoral and academic outcomes. A second position as Head of Primary (ELC-6) is also available to lead the pastoral development and day-to-day operations of the Primary School. Applications for both positions are encouraged from appropriately qualified and experienced individuals with the passion necessary to engage with and inspire the School community. A fundamental appreciation of and alignment to the Catholic ethos within the Dominican tradition is essential in these pivotal and career defining leadership roles.

Following an organisational restructure and formulation of a new strategic plan, South Australian company sportsmed has the opportunity for a Director – People & Culture to help design and lead the execution of the people and culture strategy, with a key focus on organisational training and development, safety and wellbeing and with direct responsibility for a people focussed business unit. Reporting to the Chief Executive Officer and as a key member of the Executive Team, this diverse and pivotal role will be responsible for contributing to the organisation’s strategic growth through contemporary workforce planning processes across the business teams of the orthopaedic clinic and hospital. Appropriately qualified HR professionals with demonstrated management experience in a similar role, ideally within a comparably client focussed human or professional services environment are encouraged to apply. Health industry experience is desired but not essential. The ability to demonstrate a preparedness to both scope and pragmatically deliver initiatives will be highly regarded.

Cherrie Cacayorin
Scott Boyd-Turner

Architecture promotions

Adelaide design firm Cheesman Architects has promoted three of its Principals to Associate Director roles.

The Kensington-based firm, which employs 30 staff and is responsible for ongoing upgrades at the Lyell McEwin and Queen Elizabeth Hospitals, announced last week it had promoted long-time employees Cherrie Cacayorin, Scott Boyd-Turner and Scott Suter.

Cacayorin, a member of the SA Property Council's Retirement Living Committee, joined Cheesman in 2010 after six years as an Associate with Adelaide’s Hardy Milazzo Architecture and five years with Milne Architects.

Before that, she enjoyed more than seven years as an architect and university lecturer in the Philippines.

Suter joined Cheesman in 2004 after graduate roles with Hames Sharley and Swanbury Penglase, while Boyd-Turner joined a year earlier and has led several major government health projects – including the $187 million Flinders Medical Centre Transforming Health upgrade.

Cheesman Architects Joint Director James Sage said the three promotions would strengthen the company’s focus on the sectors of health and wellbeing, seniors living, commercial, defence, multi-residential and urban development.

“We are delighted to have the three new Associate Directors to help guide and lead the Practice into our fourth decade of business in South Australia,” he said.

Sage said the promotions also coincided with an expansion of Cheesman’s interior design team to five staff.

Alicia Bolitho

Business owner tackles new board role

National fishing retail chain Tackle World Australia has appointed Port Lincoln store owner Alicia Bolitho to the company’s board.

Following a 20 year career in the wine industry, Bolitho has become a key figure in the South Australian fishing scene.

The Tackle World appointment marks her second directorship position in the sector alongside her board role with the Australian Fishing Trade Association.

She is also one of ten members on the State Government’s Recreational Fishing Advisory Council, tasked with developing the Recreational Fishing Strategy for South Australia, released in July.

Bolitho opened her Port Lincoln Tackle World business in 2015. It is one of two in SA and 45 in Australia.

She is also the only South Australian on the Tackle World board, with the national retail chain appointing two others – Julie Ramm and Rebecca Herbert – from Western Australia and New South Wales respectively.

The board is chaired by Victorian Tackle World store owner David Kramer.

Bolitho said she was looking forward to working with the board as she continues her work in the “rewarding and challenging industry” of fishing.

“We have a great mix of Tackle World representatives on the board, and the diversity brings with it skillsets to ensure we are the number one independently owned fishing retailer in Australia,” she said.

Vikas Dogra
Steven Harvey

CEO promotion for health manager

Adelaide-based occupational health providers Jobfit Health Group have promoted their General Manager Vikas Dogra to CEO.

Originally from Adelaide, Dogra has been with the private health company for more than 11 years and will be its first chief executive.

The workforce health group, headquartered in Adelaide, has more 37 sites across Australia with 300 staff managing more than 5000 clients.

Dogra’s promotion follows a company restructure in which Steven Harvey, Managing Director of parent company Fullerton Health Australia, decided to step back from day-to-day management of JobFit.

Harvey said Dogra was “perfectly suited” to the inaugural CEO role.

“Vik has worked in multiple roles across the business, has intimate knowledge of our clients and market, has mentored many of our current and most dynamic young leaders and led the development of Jobfit’s renowned health monitoring system,” he said.

“Stepping back from day-to-day leadership of Jobfit, I’ll now focus on the strategic direction of our Group, as we seek to conclude several important developments and our targeted acquisition strategy over the coming months,” Harvey said.

Dogra’s new CEO role will see him based in Brisbane.

The JobFit veteran said his focus would be on expanding the group's national reach, client base and workforce.

Laura Stein

Solicitor’s supreme court move

Crown Solicitor Laura Stein has been appointed to the South Australian Supreme Court.

Stein has spent the last 20 years of her career in the Crown Solicitor’s Office, providing legal advice to the State Government, cabinet ministers and departments.

She started with the CSO in 2001 as Executive Solicitor, before being promoted to Special Counsel in 2017 and then Assistant Crown Solicitor the year after.

She was finally appointed Crown Solicitor in August 2020.

Prior to joining the public sector, she worked in private practice for ten years at Adelaide law firm Fisher Jeffries and had a short stint as an associate at the Australian High Court with Justice Michael McHugh.

Attorney-General Vickie Chapman said Stein had accumulated “significant experience” during her time in the legal profession.

“She has overseen numerous high-profile and sensitive matters in her time with Crown and has also led a number of reforms aimed at strengthening both the role and performance of the CSO,” she said.

“I have every confidence that Ms Stein will bring the thoughtful insight for which she is known to her time on the bench.”

Stein begins her term as a Supreme Court judge today.

Bec Young

New CEO for disability org

Former Deaf Can:Do General Manager Rebecca Young has been appointed CEO of Adelaide disability arts organisation Access2Arts.

With a Masters in Business Administration and a background in media and marketing, Young has held a variety of roles with companies across Adelaide, including Vinnies SA, KWP! and Flinders Power.

She has spent the past eight years as General Manager, Group Social Impact and Growth at South Australian disability support charity Deaf Can:Do – a subsidiary of the Can:Do group.

This has come alongside her ongoing role as Chair of Adelaide children’s circus organisation Lolly Jar Circus.

Access2Arts interim Chair Elizabeth Williamson said Young was the “standout” candidate with a “wealth of excellent experience in disability and management” and a passion for the arts.

“While her background is not in the practice or production of the arts, Rebecca is a leader who will ensure that Access2Arts has the best people with that experience working with and for the artists we serve,” Williamson said.

Dr Jessica Gallagher

Another Deputy VC appointment for Adel Uni

The University of Adelaide has appointed Dr Jessica Gallagher as its new Deputy Vice-Chancellor (external engagement).

Gallagher is currently Pro Vice-Chancellor (Global Engagement and Entrepreneurship) at the University of Queensland where she has worked for more than 15 years after starting as Student Recruitment Manager in 2006.

She also holds board roles with Queensland AI Group and the Kokoda Track Foundation.

Her role at Adelaide University will see her lead the intuition’s Marketing and Recruitment division, External Relations and the Office of the ProVice-Chancellor (International).

Gallagher said she was excited to “help shape the future direction of the University of Adelaide” and wants to be the “eyes and ears” of the university’s stakeholders.

“One of the key reasons I sought to take on this role is the knowledge that there are great things happening in South Australia right now – such as the opportunities being created through the Lot Fourteen innovation precinct – and that the University of Adelaide is a key partner in the State’s future success,” she said.

“I know that there are challenges ahead for the university sector, but I look forward to being part of leadership team that is dedicated to creating the best possible opportunities for the University of Adelaide, its students and staff, and for the state.”

Gallagher will commence her new role on November 22.

University of Adelaide Vice-Chancellor Peter Høj – who was Vice-Chancellor of the University of Queensland from 2012-2020 – said Gallagher is a “highly skilled strategic thinker”.

“Her work and that of her teams will be critical to the future success of the University of Adelaide, creating opportunities, strengthening partnerships and generating new revenue,” he said.

Gallagher’s appointment comes after Adelaide University last month promoted Professor Jennie Shaw to Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Academic Vice President.

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