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New Defence SA chief executive named

A defence industry expert with more than 30 years of experience in the field will helm Defence SA, replacing the outgoing Richard Price who resigned last year.

Mar 15, 2024, updated Mar 15, 2024
A RAAF P-8A Poseidon supports sea trials for the NUSHIP Hobart in Gulf St Vincent off the coast of Adelaide. Picture: Craig Barrett/Department of Defence

A RAAF P-8A Poseidon supports sea trials for the NUSHIP Hobart in Gulf St Vincent off the coast of Adelaide. Picture: Craig Barrett/Department of Defence

Director of Defence and Space at the University of South Australia, Matt Opie, has been appointed as chief executive of Defence SA following the resignation of Richard Price in December 2023.

Opie will commence in the role from 15 April and joins as chief executive with significant experience in the sector including senior positions at SAAB Australia and BAE Systems Australia.

Opie served as an officer in the Royal Australian Corps of Signals both in Australia and the Middle East, and has worked on defence projects in the Asia-Pacific, US and Europe.

The new chief executive is an Australian Defence Force Academy and Royal Military Collage Duntroon graduate and has a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Business Administration. He was appointed to his role at the University of South Australia in 2017.

Matt Opie will commence as chief executive of Defence SA from 15 April. Photo: LinkedIn.

Deputy Premier Susan Close said Opie was identified as a “highly credentialed and experienced candidate for this role”, and will lead Defence SA as South Australia embarks on major defence projects including the AUKUS submarine program and shipbuilding projects at Osborne.

“It is great that we were able to find someone with Matt’s experience right here in Adelaide,” Close said.

“He joins Defence SA as we begin the acquisition of a nuclear-powered submarine fleet through the AUKUS program, as well as other programs involving advanced technologies including artificial intelligence, cyber and quantum computing.”

Opie said he was “excited to contribute to the defence sector and the state’s prosperity during this critical period of continuous naval shipbuilding and AUKUS”.

“I look forward to bringing my skills and experience in defence and space, industry and research to support the defence and space sectors in South Australia,” Opie said.

“Defence SA has an enviable reputation as a leader in the defence sector Australia-wide and I am very proud and excited to be able to lead the agency.

“South Australia is known as the Defence State due to our strong history and capabilities in supporting defence, industry and research over many decades and I look forward to leading Defence SA to continue this important work.”

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