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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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Alfonzo Ianniello
Donald McGurk

Codan picks new CEO

Former Detmold Packaging Chief Executive Alfonzo Ianniello has been appointed Managing Director and CEO of Codan.

The South Australian metal detector and communications equipment company last week announced that Ianniello would replace outgoing CEO Donald McGurk on January 4 next year.

McGurk in August flagged his intention to retire from the role after more than a decade at the helm.

His incoming replacement spent more than 14 years as CEO of paper and packaging manufacturers Detmold Packaging before resigning in July this year.

Prior to that, Ianniello was Managing Director at former automotive components manufacturer Schefenacker Vision Systems Australia and a defence systems engineer at British Aerospace Australia.

Codan Chair David Simmons, who served on the Detmold Board from 2011 to 2019, said Ianniello fulfilled Codan's criteria for a “CEO with international experience whilst running a complex business at scale”.

“I was able to see at first-hand that Alf was an outstanding CEO and leader,” Simmons said.

“He has a proven track record of leveraging innovation and organisational capabilities and achieved significant growth in sales and profitability during his time as CEO.”

Simmons said the company was planning for Ianniello and McGurk to visit all staff, key customers and major suppliers in Australia and around the world by late January this year.

He said Ianniello, 49, would remain committed to Codan’s current three-year plan.

“Alf is a young but very experienced executive leader, which means that he and the Board can work together to further develop the Codan business over an extended period of time,” Simmons said.

Codan was ranked South Australia’s seventh-largest company at InDaily’s South Australian Business Index last month, with revenue of $437 million.

Jodie van Deventer
Stephen Myatt

Ai Group finds new SA leader

The Australian Industry Group has appointed former Committee for Adelaide CEO Jodie van Deventer as their new Head of South Australia.

The national employers’ association last week announced that van Deventer – a former journalist and communications manager – would be replacing long-time Ai Group South Australia Head Stephen Myatt, who has been with the industry group and its predecessor, the Engineering Employers Association of South Australia, since 1987.

Van Deventer’s latest move comes after she stepped down as CEO of the Committee for Adelaide in July and was replaced by former Adelaide United Director of Football Bruce Djite.

A media and communications specialist, van Deventer’s career started with The Advertiser before she in 1992 moved to the BBC in London to be a broadcast journalist.

After returning to Adelaide in 1998, she would eventually switch over to public relations and take on senior comms roles with both the Australian Hotels Association and the South Australian Tourism Commission, before establishing her own PR firm in 2007.

She is currently Chair of Adelaide United’s Women’s Football Committee and a Member of the club’s Advisory Board.

Ai Group CEO Innes Willox said van Deventer’s “diverse and interesting” career made her an “outstanding appointment” for the industry body.

“Jodie will be an important advocate for SA employers as the state emerges from the impacts of COVID-19,” Willox said.

“She is well equipped to ensure Ai Group member views and interests are heard at the highest levels of government and by all sides of politics which will be critically important in the lead up to the state election next year.”

Willox also noted that outgoing SA Head Myatt has worked with 17 AI Group branch presidents during his nearly 40 years with the organisation.

“In all his roles, Stephen has always displayed a tremendous commitment to our members’ interests, working constructively with governments of all types and looking out for the welfare of our staff,” Willox said.

“We wish him well for the future.”

Nathan Silby
Ben Stapleton

Leadership change at WGA

National engineering and project management firm Wallbridge Gilbert Aztec has appointed Nathan Silby and former Aurecon Chief Client Officer Ben Stapleton as their new joint Managing Directors.

The Adelaide-based pair will replace Peter McBean and Nick Lelos at the helm of WGA on February 7, 2022.

Silby has been promoted to the leadership role from his current position as Senior Civil Engineer and SA Regional Manager.

He has been with the Adelaide headquartered company since 2006 and is touted for his “strong operational leadership skills and understanding of WGA culture”.

“I am humbled by the opportunity to provide the support needed for our staff to excel and work on many interesting and challenging projects throughout Australia and New Zealand,” Silby said.

Meanwhile, WGA opted for an external hire with Stapleton – a long-time professional services industry executive.

He has spent the last four years with engineering, consultancy and advisory firm Aurecon, first as Managing Director of Infrastructure and most recently as Chief Client Officer.

Prior to that, he was Lead Associate in Adelaide with national consulting firm BRS and spent close to 20 years in senior infrastructure/transport manager roles with construction and engineering company Jacobs (formerly Sinclair Knight Merz).

Stapleton said he was “honoured” to be given the opportunity to lead WGA alongside Silby.

“I plan to draw on the range of experiences I have had to help continue to strengthen the WGA business and support our clients through a culture that creates opportunities for all of our people,” he said.

Silby and Stapleton are the third leadership team in WGA’s nearly 40-year history.

McBean and Lelos have led the engineering firm since 2014 when they took over from the company’s founders Geoff Wallbridge and Mark Gilbert.

WGA said the outgoing leadership team would remain a “vital part” of the company’s future, with both to retain their positions on the board and stay on in business development and technical engineering roles.

Paul Harwood
Darren Styler

From boats to barristers

Duncan Basheer Hannon has appointed BAE Systems Commercial Manager Paul Harwood as their new General Manager.

Harwood, who is commencing his new role with DBH Lawyers today, has managed the commercial aspects of BAE’s Hunter Class Frigate Program since March this year.

Prior to that, he was Vice President of Finance and Administration at hi-tech Adelaide welding company K-TIG.

A Chartered Accountant and Australian Institute of Company Directors graduate, he has also held senior finance roles with multinational science company Thermo Fisher Scientific, Onkaparinga Council and global oil and gas technology firm Baker Hughes.

His move into the legal sector sees him replace outgoing DBH General Manager Darren Styler, who, after three years with the South Australian law firm, has taken on a GM role with disability service provider SACARE.

DBH Managing Partner Amy Nikolovski thanked Styler for implementing a full rebrand of the law firm along with an office refurbishment and new client management system.

“We thank him for his strategic leadership, which has laid the foundation for a strong workplace culture, and sustainable and profitable future for our firm,” Nikolovski said.

She said Harwood’s “extensive experience” in Adelaide and overseas would be of “significant value” for DBH into the future.

Bill McFarlane

Promotion at Madderns

South Australian patent attorney and trademark firm Madderns has promoted 33-year company veteran Bill McFarlane to Senior Partner.

McFarlane joined Madderns as a trainee attorney in 1988 and was elevated to partner status in 1996.

Specialising in electronics and IT, he is also an adjunct lecturer at the University of Adelaide where he teaches legal aspects of entrepreneurship .

Madderns Managing Partner Dr Jeff Holman said McFarlane’s promotion to Senior Partner “recognises his excellent contributions to Madderns over many years, including in the early formative years of the firm”.

“It also recognises Bill’s accomplishments and standing in the patent attorney community in Australia,” Holman said.

McFarlane is a former Secretary of the Australian Federation of Intellectual Property Attorneys and is a member of Engineers Australia.

Prior to working as a patent attorney, he had an eight-year stint with SA Police as an officer and radio comms engineer.

He also spent two years with Motorola as a sales engineer for radio equipment before joining Madderns in 1988.

The Gouger Street-based firm has made a number of key appointments this year, including elevating Holman to Managing Director and appointing former CSL Patent Counsel Dr Milena Dryza as Senior Associate.

Ryan Officer

Officer by name and nature

State Government-backed lender HomeStart Finance has appointed Ryan Officer as their new Chief Risk Officer.

The appointment sees Officer leave his Chief Risk Officer role in Brisbane with the Bank of Queensland, where he has been employed since 2006.

A University of South Australia graduate, he started his career with The Adelaide Bank as a Settlements Officer in 2003 before his move to the Sunshine State. Most recently, he led the Bank of Queensland’s national mortgage risk assessment team.

Touted as a specialist in risk and compliance, his new start with HomeStart will see him responsible for the home loan provider’s risk management.

“It’s not only great to be back in Adelaide, but also being part of an organisation that plays such an important role within the home ownership journey for South Australians, which is something I’m passionate about,” Officer said.

The new CRO appointment comes as HomeStart CEO John Oliver prepares to step down next month, with Chief Financial Officer Andrew Mills set to take over.

The organisation is currently searching for a new CFO.

Corporate Ladder: your weekly guide to executive appointments

Australian Gas Infrastructure Group (AGIG) manages critical gas infrastructure across Australia through its various gas businesses and hydrogen projects. With an asset base of approximately $9 billion and a customer base of over 2 million, AGIG is poised for further growth. AGIG is now looking for an experienced Chief Information Officer. Working closely with the Executive Team, this newly created national role will be responsible for ensuring the organisational IT requirements are met now and into the future. Applications are sought from accomplished IT professionals with demonstrated experience leading, influencing and delivering in a complex IT environment. Previous experience within a comparable energy infrastructure or other asset-intensive organisation will be well regarded. With scope to be based in Adelaide, Perth or Melbourne, this rare opportunity offers a mix of leadership, strategy, technology, innovation and IT and will suit a high calibre individual capable of adding significant value to overall business outcomes.

Resthaven Incorporated is a stable and highly respected leader in the rapidly growing aged and community services sector in South Australia. Due to internal movement, community services leadership vacancies have arisen in three geographical areas:

Manager Community Services – Paradise and Eastern Suburbs: Responsible for a budget of $11.6m and around 200 staff

Manager Community Services – Woodville and Western Suburbs : Responsible for a budget of $6.6m and around 90 staff

Manager Community Services – Marion and Inner Southern Suburbs: Responsible for a budget of $10m and around 145 staff

Reporting to the Executive Manager, Community Services, these roles play an integral part in maintaining the Division’s ability to embrace the Federal Government’s ongoing aged care reform agenda. Applications are encouraged from professionals with extensive management experience, preferably from an aged care, health care or human services environment. High level change leadership abilities, commercial acumen and strategic thinking skills are required.

Anthony Stewart
Darren Thomas

Thomas gives Stewart the nod

Thomas Foods International has reshuffled its leadership team, promoting Group Chief Financial Officer Anthony Stewart to CEO.

The change has also seen TFI’s Group Chief Executive Officer of 22 years Darren Thomas elevated to Group Managing Director.

The South Australian meat distribution and processing company, ranked 14th on InDaily’s South Australian Business Index last month, said the changes were part of a “progressive transition” of its board.

Stewart joined TFI in 2014 after four years in Sydney as Regional CFO, Asia Pacific/South America, for Beam Global Spirits & Wine.

He was also a CFO with Detmold Packaging Group in Adelaide and has held senior financial management roles with Pernod Ricard.

The leadership reshuffle at TFI has also seen Chief Financial Officer Australia Nick Thomas elevated to Group Chief Financial Officer, replacing the vacancy left by Stewart.

Chris Thomas, who founded TFI in 1988, remains Executive Chairman.

Darren Thomas said it was critical TFI had a “dedicated, experienced and focussed leadership team in place to support our ambitious global strategy for the years ahead” while the company pursues “a number of opportunities to build our business both across Australia and overseas”.

TFI earlier this month announced it was acquiring a mothballed processing plant in Bourke, New South Wales, to ramp up its goat meat production.

Brian Ingham

Return to Adelaide for banking veteran

Head of Portfolio Implementation at ANZ Private Brian Ingham is returning to the bank’s Adelaide branch as Senior Investment Adviser.

Ingham has been with ANZ’s Melbourne Chief Investment Office since 2019, responsible for the daily running of the company’s managed discretionary accounts and working with investor clients.

His move to Melbourne followed six years with ANZ in South Australia and Western Australia as Senior Investment Specialist.

“Whilst Melbourne provided some great opportunities, I’m looking forward to getting back to Adelaide and working with clients again,” Ingham said.

Across a more than 35-year career in investment management, Ingham has held a number of executive roles, including Head of Australian Equities at Citigroup, Zurich Scudder Investments and BNP Investment Partners.

He was also Managing Director of boutique firm Matrix Investment Management from 2001 to 2005.

Julie Cooper
Janet Finlay

Cooper collects another board role 

Nova Systems Chair Julie Cooper has been appointed to another board, joining South Australian aged care organisation Helping Hand.

It adds to the experienced director’s current board portfolio, which includes roles with Credit Union SA, construction company Sarah Group, the Adelaide Crows Foundation and the National Council of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Prior to her move into non-executive management, she worked for more than eight years as an Associate Principal at McKinsey and more than 12 years as a Director at BAE Systems.

She joins Helping Hand’s board alongside former State Planning Commission Deputy Chair Janet Finlay, with the pair replacing retiring board members Gayle McClimont and Priya Chadha.

Finlay also holds a wide range of director appointments, with board roles at SA Water, the University of Adelaide, the Libraries Board of South Australia, St John Ambulance and the South Australian Football Commission.

For more than 26 years she was a tax specialist at professional services network Ernst & Young in Adelaide.

Helping Hand Chair Brenda Wilson said the new appointments brought a “wealth of tactical and strategic experience” to the aged care organisation.

“Ms Cooper and Ms Finlay add to the strength of our board and will support the growth and strategy for the organisation as we ready ourselves to face several years of rapid reform,” Wilson said.

Helping Hand operates nine residential care homes in South Australia and provide services for more than 7000 South Australians in retirement.

Rod Jones

Board unveiled for new arts philanthropy org

Country Arts SA has unveiled an eight-person board for its new philanthropic organisation, the Country Arts Foundation, with Piper Alderman Partner Rod Jones appointed as inaugural Chair.

The foundation, set to be launched this month, will comprise of volunteer community leaders and philanthropists raising funds for artists and programs in regional South Australia.

Jones has been with Piper Alderman for more than 10 years as a Special Counsel and Partner.

The long-time lawyer is also a former Independent Director at the SA Real Estate Institute and used to sit as a Member of the Property Council’s Residential Development Committee.

Joining him on the foundation board are:

  • Rabobank Senior Rural Manager Kate Facy,
  • Printmaker and Port Elliot Strand Gallery Director Sonya Hender,
  • ABC Radio Regional Drive Producer Petria Ladgrove,
  • Optus SA & NT State Director Michael Luchich,
  • AccountKit and Murray Business Solutions Co-Founder Paula Murray,
  • Merc Property Managing Director Robin Matters, and
  • Country Arts SA CEO Anthony Peluso.

Jones said the foundation board have a “wealth of knowledge and experience that covers regional South Australia”.

“It is an honour to work alongside this group of people to raise much-needed funds to support regional arts and arts programs that help rural and regional communities to thrive,” he said.

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