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 29, 2022, updated Aug 29, 2022
South Australia's new State Opera Executive Director Mark Taylor. Photo: Glenn Hunt/supplied

South Australia's new State Opera Executive Director Mark Taylor. Photo: Glenn Hunt/supplied

Stephanie Johnston

Steven Griffiths

Top planning appointment for Johnston

Urban and regional planning consultant Stephanie Johnston has been appointed to the State Planning Commission.

The former book publisher turned urban planner – who is a regular contributor to Solstice Media’s InReview – has run her own planning consultancy, Stephanie Johnston & Associates, since 2007.

She sits on five council assessment panels, including as Presiding Member of the City of Charles Sturt, Deputy Presiding Member of the City of Port Adelaide Enfield and Independent Member of the City of Onkaparinga, Kangaroo Island Council and Town of Gawler.

Johnston will start on the powerful State Planning Commission on September 1, replacing former regional Liberal MP Steven Griffiths after just six months in the role.

Griffiths, a former Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party, was appointed Commissioner in February for a six-month term.

Johnston’s appointment will run for two years until October 31, 2024.

Planning Minister Nick Champion said she was selected because “we needed someone who could hit the ground running”.

“We were impressed by Stephanie Johnston’s experience in local government and hands on knowledge of urban and rural planning,” he said in a statement.

“She will make an excellent addition to the Commission and I look forward to seeing what members continue to bring to the table.”

Mark Taylor

Stuart Maunder

State Opera looks to Queensland for new boss

State Opera South Australia has found a new Executive Director, appointing Opera Queensland Director Mark Taylor to the role.

Due to start on September 26, Taylor’s move to Adelaide will mark the end of nearly 13 years with Opera Queensland – most recently as Director of Learning, Regional and Community.

A former school principal with a background in education, Taylor is credited with overseeing the development of five touring school shows at Opera Queensland and establishing the inaugural “Festival of Outback Opera” in 2021.

He will take over from former State Opera Executive Director Yarmila Alfonzetti, who departed the role on May 27 after being appointed CEO of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra.

Taylor, whose appointment is for an initial three-year term, will also lead the search for State Opera’s new Artistic Director as Stuart Maunder AM prepares to leave the role in mid-2023.

Maunder has been appointed Artistic Director at the Victorian Opera.

Jarrad Pilkington

Peter Barnard

SA energy managers head to global consultancy

Multinational consultancy Mott MacDonald has appointed Jarrad Pilkington and Peter Barnard to its Asia Pacific “Energy Transition Team”.

Pilkington, a former journalist at The Advertiser and Chief Media Adviser to Premier Jay Weatherill, has spent the last four years with the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) as a “Stakeholder Engagement Specialist” and Manager of Energy Policy.

He spent his last two years in the Weatherill Government as Chief of Staff to then-Treasurer and Minister for Energy and Mining Tom Koutsantonis amid the political fallout and policy response to the 2016 state-wide blackout.

Pilkington’s new role, based in Adelaide, gives him responsibility for assisting Mott MacDonald’s clients with the transition to net zero emissions.

Barnard, meanwhile, is an electrical engineer who has spent the last eight years with SA Power Networks as Head of Engineering Design and Technical Services.

Prior to that, he spent more than seven years with Aurecon as a Senior Electrical Engineer and Equity Partner.

“Jarrad and Peter both bring excellent but unique skill sets that will contribute to great outcomes on the many projects we are supporting across the Asia Pacific region,” Mott MacDonald Asia Pacific Managing Director David Johnson said

Headquartered in South London, Mott MacDonald is a multidisciplinary consultancy firm with more than 16,000 staff around the world.

The Adelaide Oval, North-South Corridor and the University of Adelaide’s Health and Medical Sciences building are among the major South Australian projects it has been involved in.

Corporate Position: the latest executive employment opportunities

Menz, the home of SA’s iconic FruChocs and Violet Crumble, is looking for a new Chief Financial Officer. Reporting directly to the CEO and providing advice to the Board and Senior Management Team, this important position will take responsibility for the implementation of short and long term financial plans; driving financial reporting, system and process improvement; and maintaining productive relationships with a range of key public and private stakholders, suppliers and subcontractors. This role will also act as Company Secretary and have responsibility for legal advisory relationships and information technology systems, process and development needs across the organisation. Applications are encouraged from CA/CPA qualified and proven finance professionals with demonstrated experience in manufacturing cost accounting best practice.

Daniel Lalic

Christian Sloniec

Accountants gain Altitude

Altitude Advisory Business Advisors Daniel Lalic and Christian Sloniec have been promoted to Partners.

The Chartered Accounting duo have been in the sector for close to 15 years, with Sloniec joining the Norwood firm in 2013 followed by Lalic in 2019.

Lalic was previously employed by Moore Stephens, Bentleys SA and Venture Private Advisory – the latter as a Senior Accountant – while Sloniec was formerly with MRL Group Pty Ltd.

Altitude Advisory Director Andrew Mattner said: “Daniel and Christian are outstanding people and operators, with great values who will make a significant contribution to our business, our clients and our team now and into the future.”

Tim Foster

Credit Union exec tapped for board role

Adelaide fund manager Capital Prudential has appointed Credit Union Chief Financial Officer Tim Foster as a Non-Executive Director.

Foster, who recently moved back to Adelaide after eight years with Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, was appointed Credit Union CFO in May this year.

Prior to his move to Doha in 2014, Foster worked in Sydney as CFO for property group Stockland and former banking and insurance group HBOS Australia. He also worked with investment firms Challenger Limited and Colonial First State.

His new board role with Capital Prudential is currently his only listed directorship.

Capital Prudential’s fund is only opened to sophisticated and wholesale investors. The firm says it has 74 properties under development worth an estimated $112.8 million and have secured land for an additional 64 properties worth an estimated $126 million.


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