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.

Aug 15, 2022, updated Aug 15, 2022
Darrell Jacobs (left) and Paul Unerkov (right) with Motor Trade Association Chair Frank Agostino. Jacobs has been endorsed to replace Unerkov as the association's CEO at the end of the year. Photo: supplied

Darrell Jacobs (left) and Paul Unerkov (right) with Motor Trade Association Chair Frank Agostino. Jacobs has been endorsed to replace Unerkov as the association's CEO at the end of the year. Photo: supplied

Jane Mussared

Miranda Starke

Canberra move for COTA boss

Council on the Ageing SA CEO Jane Mussared is stepping away from the peak body after seven years at the helm.

Mussared, a former General Manager at ACH Group, has led COTA SA since February 2015. She has resigned to join Federal Minister for Health and Aged Care Mark Butler in an advisory capacity.

COTA SA General Manager Miranda Stake, who is also Chair of the Adelaide Festival Centre Foundation, is stepping up as interim Chief Executive while COTA searches for Mussared’s replacement.

COTA SA President Anne Edwards AO said Mussared brought “enormous energy, passionate commitment, highly-developed leadership skills, and personal integrity” to her seven years as CEO.

“One of her lasting legacies has been to build an outstanding staff and volunteer team in SA,” she said.

“Everyone at COTA SA is enormously proud that Jane will now have the chance to positively influence ageing policy at a national level.”

Darrell Jacobs

Paul Unerkov

Green light for new MTA leadership

The SA/NT Motor Trade Association will promote General Manager of Automotive Skills Development Darrell Jacobs to CEO, after long-time boss Paul Unerkov indicated his intention to retire from the job at the end of the year.

Unerkov has led the automotive industry peak body since 2014, joining after 23 years with Mitsubishi Motors – most recently as Vice President of Customer and Brand.

“For me the timing is right and it has been an honour to support our members and industry as well as provide apprentices with the opportunity to get their start in a rewarding career,” Unerkov said.

“After 30 years in the automotive industry, I am looking forward to focussing on some exciting new plans and projects.”

Unerkov’s soon-to-be successor is also a former senior manager at Mitsubishi, heading up the automotive giant’s marketing division for 17 years before joining the MTA in 2019 as General Manager of Member Solutions.

Jacobs has also held senior roles with Commonwealth Bank, Wendy’s and food manufacturer Simplot.

MTA Chair Frank Agostino said the board had unanimously endorsed Jacobs’ promotion to CEO as part of a succession plan at MTA.

“Jacobs has two decades of automotive experience and will provide the MTA with a strong knowledge base and connection to industry,” he said.

Garry Palasis

Felix Hoelscher

Changing of the guard at Adelaide law firm

Andersons Solicitors Managing Partner Garry Palasis is stepping down next month after 15 years in charge.

Palasis, an expert in wills, estates, and commercial and business law, has been with Andersons since 1982 and was appointed Managing Partner in 2007.

The firm says the veteran legal leader will stay on as a Partner after he vacates the top position at the firm next month.

The move paves the way for Andersons’ Commercial Litigation Department Head Felix Hoelscher to lead the mid-sized Franklin Street law firm from September 1 this year.

Hoelscher has been with Andersons since 2003 and specialises in estate planning, dispute resolution, legal drafting and construction law.

Andersons Solicitors, which has 80 staff across six offices South Australian offices, said the incoming leadership change has prompted a rebrand and change in organisational structure.

Jo Rossiter

Luke Ritchie

Annesley finds new leader

Annesley Junior School has appointed long-time teacher Jo Rossiter as Principal.

The former Annesley student and current parent first joined the Wayville school as a teacher in 2012 after stints in Canberra, New Zealand and outback South Australia.

She was promoted to Head of Primary Years (3-7) in 2018 and then Director of Primary (R-6) in April this year.

Her appointment as Principal comes after a month acting in the role, replacing former Annesley Principal Luke Ritchie who has moved to St Andrew’s School.

Annesley Council Chair Bruce Spangler AM said Rossiter’s appointment was a “unanimous choice”.   

“As part of the senior leadership team, Jo has played a critical role in the development of the innovative, strength-based learning strategies that have cemented Annesley as a leader in primary education,” Spangler said.

“Jo is also a highly regarded workshop leader and school visit team leader for the International Baccalaureate Organisation in the Asia Pacific Region, and has been an executive member of the PYP (Primary Years Programme) SA/NT Network.”

Rossiter appointment becomes effective on September 1.

Annesley says it will soon begin searching for a Director of Primary to fill the vacancy left by their new Principal.

Corporate Position: the latest executive employment opportunities

Resthaven Incorporated is looking for a new Manager, Residential Services to lead Resthaven Port Elliot. The site provides care and services for up to 92 older people. An opportunity exists for a highly energised, community focussed and motivated professional manager to join this respected aged care provider. Key responsibilities include managing more than 100 people to ensure quality and compliance with the Aged Care Quality Standards, funding management, as well as maintaining relationships with key external stakeholders including primary and healthcare providers, families, suppliers and the community. Tertiary nursing qualifications and AHPRA registration as a registered nurse are required. Formal qualifications in business/health management are highly desirable.

Sir Angus Houston

Vice Admiral Russell Crane

Change for Defence SA top brass

Air Chief Marshall Sir Angus Houston AK AFC (Ret’d) has stepped down as Chair of Defence SA after being tapped by the Albanese Government to lead a major review of the Australian Defence Force.

The move means Vice Admiral Russell Crane AO CSM RAN (Ret’d) has been appointed Acting Chair of the state government defence agency until a permanent replacement is found.

Houston, a former ADF and Air Force Chief, is credited with playing a “pivotal role” in South Australia’s defence industry and helping secure major manufacturing contracts such as the Hunter Class Frigates and the Collins Class sustainment program.

He has led the Defence SA Advisory Board since 2014 when he replaced Peter Cosgrove. Cosgrove resigned after being appointed Governor-General of Australia.

“After 10 years, I am proud of the contribution I have been able to make in promoting the growth of Defence and defence industries in South Australia,” Houston said in a statement.

“It has been an honour to work with my fellow board members, local industry and the South Australian Government in advancing South Australia’s defence interests I and wish them every success as they continue on this path.”

Crane is a former Chief of Navy who joined the Defence SA Advisory Board in 2011 following his retirement.

Both Crane and Houston share a service history dating from 1970 to 2011.

Cam Pearce

Kate Dowd

Coopers director calls last drinks

Coopers Brewery Director of Marketing and Innovation Cam Pearce is retiring after 13 years as a full-time executive with the company.

Pearce, a former CEO of Meals on Wheels SA, joined the Coopers board in February 2002 before being appointed Director of Business Development in September 2010. He moved to his current position in 2014.

Despite the retirement, he intends to stay on the Coopers board.

Coopers Managing Director Dr Tim Cooper said Pearce has been an “integral part of many changes and developments at Coopers over the past 13 years”, including a recent refresh of the brewery’s ale packaging.

“His lasting impact includes the successful integration of the Premium Beverages business into the organisational structure of Coopers, a substantial change given the former operating independence of Premium Beverages,” Cooper said.

“The integration also entailed the establishment of a marketing structure to support national growth, a corporate change that Cam pursued with rigour.”

Pearce’s retirement will see Coopers National Marketing Manager Kate Dowd now lead Coopers’ brand and marketing strategy.

Dowd has held the role since May 2019.

Paula Conboy

Global energy expert goes ZEN

Former Australian Energy Regulator Chair Paula Conboy has been appointed to the board of South Australian renewable energy company ZEN Energy.

Currently based in Ontario, Canada, Conboy led the Australian Energy Regulator’s board from 2014 to 2019 after stints in senior roles with the Ontario Energy Board and Canadian utility PowerStream Inc.

She is currently a board member with Singapore’s Energy Market Authority and American electric transmission system PJM Interconnection. She is also a Senior Counsellor with Toronto-based public affairs firm Sussex Strategy Group.

“We believe Paula will bring fresh and diverse insights to the Board through her extensive knowledge, experience, and connections in the Australian and global energy sectors,” ZEN Energy Chair Raymond Spencer said.

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