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.

Feb 14, 2022, updated Feb 14, 2022
PointData CEO George Giannakodakis (left) and Chair Con Tragakis (right) with newly appointed board member Simon Basheer.

PointData CEO George Giannakodakis (left) and Chair Con Tragakis (right) with newly appointed board member Simon Basheer.

Peter Slattery

Jason Karas

Top law CEO to head up Legal Services Commission

The State Government has selected national legal heavyweight Peter Slattery to Chair the Legal Services Commission of South Australia.

Slattery is a Founding Partner of independent law firm Johnson Winter and Slattery, which boasts more than 200 staff across Australia’s five most populous cities and a corporate client list including Credit Suisse, Macquarie Group and Qantas.

He was the firm’s Managing Partner from 1996 to July 2021 and spearheaded its national expansion from its beginnings as a boutique commercial law firm. He remains in touch with JWS in the newly created role of Founder.

Slattery’s appointment to South Australia’s peak legal assistance body sees him replace Jason Karas – founder of Adelaide-based law firm Lipman Karas – who has been Chair of the Legal Services Commission for two years.

“The Commission plays a pivotal role in providing access to justice in SA and I look forward to supporting the delivery of its services,” Slattery said.

“In collaboration with multiple stakeholders in the legal sector and more broadly, the Commission provides crucial assistance to the most disadvantaged members of our community.

“I am honoured to assist the provision of those services and the collaborative relationships that underpin them.”

Simon Basheer

Monique Dorigo

Former UDIA President joins PointData

South Australian AI property analytics firm PointData has appointed Immediate Past President of the Urban Development Institute of Australia Simon Basheer to its board along with prominent Sydney marketing executive Monique Dorigo.

Basheer led the national branch of the UDIA from 2019 to 2021 and has sat on the institute’s board since 2010.

He was also President of the UDIA’s New South Wales Branch from 2012 to 2014. The bulk of his property career has been with multinational property group Lendlease, most recently as General Manager of NSW/ACT.

Meanwhile, Dorigo is currently Head of Marketing at IT firm LexisNexis Pacific, part of the multinational RELX Group and based in Sydney.

She spent a decade with property data firm CoreLogic RP Data as Executive General Manager of Marketing and has since gone on to head up the marketing departments of software companies Humanforce and Intelledox.

PointData Chair Con Tragakis said the two high-profile Sydney-based appointments would help the firm’s national expansion along the eastern seaboard this year.

“Monique and Simon are two highly qualified leaders in the property and data industries nationally,” he said.

“We are very excited to have them on our board and to have them help us drive forward our vision to be Australia’s leading property development data engine.”

Shaun Parsons

New manager for Crowne Plaza hotel

Senior international hospitality figure Shaun Parsons has been appointed General Manager of the Crowne Plaza Adelaide.

Parsons takes the helm of Adelaide’s third-largest hotel following a 14-year stint working for the Marriott Group in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

In Dubai, he worked as Hotel Manager at the 5-star beachside Mina Seyahi Complex and the Le Meridien Dubai Hotel. In Abu Dhabi, he managed the Marriot Group’s flagship 5-star Le Royal Meridien complex.

Prior to moving overseas, he held a number of senior food and beverage roles with Hyatt Hotels in Melbourne, Canberra and the Sunshine Coast.

“I have travelled to South Australia many times to visit friends,” Parsons said.

“This state has so much to offer. A tapestry of rich history, diverse cultures, engaging lifestyle, some of the best produce in the world, not to mention the best wines in the world.”

Parsons said he would use his new role to advocate for the return of workers to the CBD and encourage greater visitation to support the pandemic-hit hospitality sector.

Owned by the InterContinental Hotels Group, The Crowne Plaza on Frome Street opened in 2020 and has 329 rooms. Parsons will be responsible for managing the hotel’s level 10 restaurant Koomo and adjacent cocktail bar Luna10.

Anne Wiberg

John Glenn

Music SA shakeup

Anne Wiberg has stepped down as Chair of Music SA after nine years in the role and has been replaced by GWB Entertainment Chief Operating Officer John Glenn.

Wiberg has been with the arts not-for-profit since 2013 and is also Director of live music venue Light Adelaide.

She said among her key achievements with Music SA has been overseeing the growth of the Umbrella Festival and SAM Awards, two “vital annual celebrations of our local music talent”.

“It’s the end of an era, but the beginning of a new and exciting one, and it is a coup for Music SA to have appointed John Glenn as the next Chair,” she said.

“He has a wealth of knowledge and skills to lead the organisation through a new phase with a new vision.”

Glenn is a former Executive Producer of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival and has been COO of GWB Entertainment’s operations in Adelaide since July last year after three years as Director of Programming with the Queensland Performing Arts Centre.

He also currently sits on the board of the Darwin Entertainment Centre and Bowden youth circus Cirkidz.

Five Four Entertainment Co-owner Craig Lock has also been appointed to Music SA’s board, while General Manager Kim Roberts has left after less than two years in the role.

Glenn foreshadowed that there will be “more changes to come” with Music SA’s governance.

“We will take the time to talk to our government and corporate partners and the industry more broadly,” he said.

“There is still a great deal of industry trauma as we emerge from COVID, and Music SA is committed to continuing to advocate for the contemporary music industry that contributes so much to the social and economic fabric of South Australia.”

Brad Seaman

Seaman joins Hessel Group

Social service provider and training organisation Hessel Group has appointed long-time Ikon Institute of Australia CEO Brad Seaman as Director and Chief Strategy Officer.

Seaman, who officially commences in his new role today, had been consulting with Hessel Group for months before details of his investment were finalised last week.

For more than 12 years, he was CEO and Director of early childhood education training organisation The Ikon Institute of Australia before moving on in 2020 to become Innovation and Strategy Director at FreightLinc in Adelaide.

He has also held senior roles with the Youth Opportunities Association and the National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction.

Hessel Group Founder and CEO Tanya Cole said Seaman would help Hessel Group renew its focus on upskilling the social care workforce.

“With Brad joining Hessel Group, it is an opportunity to further our growth with new blood in the business having someone with new and innovative concepts allowing us to look at the business from a different perspective,” Cole said.

Corporate Position: the latest executive employment opportunities

Founded in 1961, Beach Energy is an ASX listed, oil and gas exploration and production company headquartered in Adelaide. Reporting to the Group Executive Human Resources and working closely with the Head of Organisational Development, the Head of Human Resources is functionally responsible for delivering contemporary operational HR advisory and systems of work across the business. Strategic leadership experience in developing the people and culture solutions for a large and complex geographically dispersed entity will be critical. Whilst this is a generalist HR role, the successful candidate will need to have a very strong background in strategic and tactical remuneration and benefits practices. This is one of the most significant people and culture leadership positions in South Australia representing a truly career defining opportunity with a growing commercial entity.

The City of Tea Tree Gully has revenue of circa $100m, a dedicated staff of around 400 and serves a thriving community of approximately 100,000 residents. The Chief Executive Officer will report directly to and work collaboratively with Council to provide strategic leadership and oversee the day-to-day operations. The vacancy follows the retirement of John Moyle after 20 years with the Council and eight as CEO. Applications are encouraged from senior managers with experience in a diverse service-based organisation. Direct experience in local government will be well regarded but not essential. Most important is an affinity with and understanding of the issues facing the city.

From inception in 1975, the MGA Whittles Group is a SA business providing insurance broking and risk advisory along with strata and property management services, with a combined turnover approaching $500m and around 550 personnel. Reporting directly to the joint Managing Directors, the Chief Financial Officer will proactively contribute to the organisation’s strategic direction. Applications are encouraged from strategic and commercially focused senior finance professionals with CA/CPA status and experience in high level financial roles in a similarly complex organisation. A background in a diverse service related industry will be highly desirable as well as an understanding of the dynamics and respectful culture of a privately/family-owned business.

Formed in 1964, Barossa Village is a community-owned not-for-profit organisation providing a full range of retirement living and aged care services within the Barossa and surrounding regions. With the upcoming retirement of the current incumbent, Simon Newbold, the organisation is looking for an exceptional Chief Executive Officer to lead Barossa Village through its next phase. The successful candidate will be a qualified senior manager with the ability to lead the organisation through ongoing reform, market growth and transformational change. Exposure to aged care is an obvious advantage but outstanding candidates from similarly complex, regulated industries will also be seriously considered.

Mobo Group provides employment and related support services for people living with disability across metropolitan and regional South Australia. Reporting to the CEO, the Head of Packaging Operations will lead the capability and capacity of the business and drive the delivery of an exceptional end-to-end customer experience. Applications are sought from senior managers preferably from a manufacturing background or aligned production or logistics environment. Tertiary qualifications in a relevant field are desirable.

Dr Anne Collins

COO appointment at Sementis

Adelaide biotech company Sementis has appointed international pharma leader Dr Anne Collins as Chief Operating Officer.

Collins has worked for a number of high-profile pharmaceutical firms in Adelaide including Mayne Pharma, Hospira (now BioCina) and Trojan Scientific and Medical. She has also held research and managerial roles with Ipsen in the UK and Industrial Research Ltd in New Zealand.

She joins Sementis, which is attempting to develop an advanced Australian-owned COVID-19 vaccine, after a year with Business SA’s Entrepreneurs Program as a Growth Facilitator in the medtech and pharma sector.

Her new role will see her responsible for managing Sementis’ end to end operations and business transition from research to clinical-stage operations.

Sementis CEO Leanne Hobbs said Collins brings more than 30 years o experience in strategic development, commercialisation and manufacturing of biological products.

“Her outstanding background in the industry, coupled with proven expertise in manufacturing, capability building and business development, makes Anne a valuable addition to our team,” Hobbs said.

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Emily Haar

Liam Higgins

Lawyers climb the ranks at Piper Alderman

Piper Alderman has made four promotions in its South Australian office.

The Adelaide-headquartered national law firm has appointed Emily Haar to Partner after four years as a Senior Associate and nearly a decade as a Piper Alderman lawyer.

She first joined the firm’s Franklin Street office in 2012 as a Law Clerk in the employment relations division and has spent the ast 10 years providing advice to employers across the country on hiring, disputes, industrial relations and work health and safety.

Meanwhile, corporate lawyer Liam Higgins has been promoted to Senior Associate in his fifth year with the firm.

A former Minter Ellison Law Clerk, Higgins has specialised in corporate governance and financial services law since joining Piper Alderman in 2016.

One of his colleagues in the corporate division, Ella Price, has been elevated from Lawyer to Associate, while Oliver Radan, a Lawyer in the projects and construction team, also received the same promotion.

Walter van Leeuwen

Seeds of ambition

S&W Seed Company executive Walter van Leeuwen has been appointed Agronomist at agricultural resources firm Agriflex, a subsidiary of Adelaide-based resources company Centrex.

Van Leeuwen’s move comes after more than 12 years with S&W Australia as Vice President of Sales and Marketing for the Middle East and North Africa.

The South African-educated ag leader also has experience in the public sector as Operations Manager with the South Australian Department of Primary Industries and Regions.

He has been hired to manage Agriflex’s “entire sales cycle of direct application phosphate rock products … to organic fertiliser producers and end-users” at the company’s Ardmore mine in far west Queensland, as well as responsibility for the development of new phosphate products.

Centrex Managing Director Robert Mencel touted van Leeuwen’s appointment as a “milestone development” in the former iron ore company’s transition to organic fertiliser production.

“Walter will be instrumental in enabling Agriflex to meet the needs of the organic fertiliser market,” he said.

“He brings the depth of experience and technical knowledge valued by customers, helping to further grow the Agriflex brand.”

James Pederson

Robert Iannazzo

SA promotions at SCA

National media company Southern Cross Austero has made two senior promotions in its Adelaide office.

James Pedersen has been elevated to the newly created role of Head of General Management while Rob Iannazzo is moving up to General Manager of Regional South Australia/Northern Territory.

Pederson – who has been with SCA in Adelaide since 1998, most recently as Executive General Manager of South Australia, Northern Territory and Western Australia – has been appointed to lead the company’s senior general management team comprised of eight regional managers across the country.

SCA Chief Operating Officer John Kelly said “James has had a stellar 23-year career with SCA and is the ultimate ‘coach’ and mentor for those around him”.

“I know he will continue to take the senior general management team from strength to strength and I look forward to seeing him work his magic in this new leadership role,” Kelly said.

Among those working in Pedersen’s senior team is Iannazzo, who has earned his promotion after eight years as SCA’s Director of Sales in Adelaide.

Iannazzo will continue to hold the sales role along with his new senior management responsibilities, according to SCA.

Mehdi Doroudi

Michelle Edge

New PIRSA chief

The Department of Primary Industries and Regions has appointed Deputy Chief Executive Professor Mehdi Doroudi as its new CEO.

Doroudi has been with PIRSA since 2010 in various executive roles before being promoted to Deputy CEO in 2015.

He is a former Chief of Aquatic Sciences at the South Australian Research and Development Institute and has worked as a research director at both the Victorian Primary Industries Department and NSW Fisheries.

Premier Steven Marshall touted Doroudi’s experience in science and policy development and his experience working across Australia and the globe.

“His leadership has been instrumental in supporting the regions during the pandemic and, most recently, in collaborating with other agencies to deliver much-needed support to affected communities impacted during extreme weather events late last month,” Marshall said.

Doroudi has been Acting PIRSA CEO in SA since Michelle Edge left the top job in December after less than two years in the role.

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