Austrade’s corporate governance framework provides a sound basis for decision-making. It supports the achievement of Austrade’s purpose and objectives while meeting legislative, policy and accountability requirements. The framework provides a mature system for managing risk and human and financial resources through planning and assurance processes.
Dr Stephanie Fahey, as Chief Executive Officer, was the accountable authority for the whole reporting period. Tim Beresford acted as Chief Executive Officer from 22 to 30 June 2020.
Austrade’s governance committee structure includes the Executive Committee and three supporting governance committees that provide advice and assurance. The governance committee structure at 30 June 2020 is shown in Figure 18. A brief overview of each committee is provided in Table 1.
Austrade’s Executive Committee
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) chairs the Executive Committee, which includes the CEO’s four direct reports (two deputy CEOs, the Chief Operating Officer, and General Manager, Strategy and Design), as well as one General Manager International. The Executive Committee advises the CEO and oversees strategic priorities, corporate management, financial management, risk management, operational plans, service delivery and performance.
The biographies of the CEO and her direct reports at 30 June 2020 are provided below. During the year, membership of the Executive Committee changed due to departures from the agency and changed committee composition.
Table 1: Austrade governance committees, at 30 June 2020
ROLE AND ACTIVITIES
The Executive Committee is a key source of advice to the CEO on the exercise of the CEO’s functions and duties under the Australian Trade and Investment Commission Act 1985, the PublicGovernance,Performance and Accountability Act 2013 and other Acts and guidance, and on Austrade’s overall strategy, operations and performance, including agency risks, policy, management and accountability, and financial management. The committee was chaired by the CEO, Dr Stephanie Fahey, and met 34 times in 2019–20.
Audit and Risk Committee
The Audit and Risk Committee provides independent advice to the CEO on the appropriateness of Austrade’s financial reporting, performance reporting, system of risk oversight and management, system of internal control, and other functions relevant to the committee’s operation. The committee was chaired by independent member, Jennifer Clark. The additional independent member was Carol Lilley. The management member on the committee was Deputy CEO Tim Beresford. The committee met five times in 2019–20.
Further information on the committee is provided later in this section, and the committee’s charter can be found at austrade.gov.au/ ArticleDocuments/3488/audit-and-risk-committee-charter.pdf.
Digital, Data and Information Committee
The Digital, Data and Information Committee provides an additional level of assurance for the CEO on digital, data and information-related strategies. It was chaired by former Deputy CEO David Hazlehurst until his departure in April 2020, and then by acting Deputy CEO Kelly Ralston since May 2020. The committee met five times in 2019–20.
People and Values
The People and Values Committee provides an additional level of assurance for the CEO on people-related strategies and the promotion of organisational values. It was chaired by Deputy CEO Tim Beresford. The committee met five times in 2019–20.
During 2019–20, the Resources Committee was part of Austrade’s governance structure and was responsible for monitoring and advising on whole- of-agency strategic resourcing. The committee met twice in 2019–20, and its functions and responsibilities were transferred to the Executive Committee in November 2019.
Dr Stephanie Fahey—Chief Executive Officer
Responsible for the management of Austrade, reporting directly to the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment.
Dr Stephanie Fahey has been Austrade’s CEO since early 2017. Before joining Austrade, she was Lead Partner for Education at professional services firm EY, and prior to that, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Global Engagement) at Monash University in Melbourne. Stephanie has also served as the Director of the Research Institute for Asia and the Pacific at the University of Sydney, which conducted research on business and the economies of Asia. Stephanie has a PhD from the Australian National University, where she focused on the socio-economic development of Papua New Guinea. After her doctoral studies, she pursued a teaching and research career, looking at growth in the Asia–Pacific region, particularly in Vietnam.
Tim Beresford—Deputy CEO, Global Client Services
Responsible for the promotion of trade and investment, and the operations of Austrade’s trade and investment network.
Tim Beresford was previously Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Vice- Chancellor at Macquarie University, with responsibility for operations and international student recruitment and engagement. Before that, he was Austrade’s Executive Director, Tourism, Investment, Education and Programs. Prior to joining Austrade, Tim was First Assistant Secretary of the Social Policy Division at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. He worked at Westpac in senior line management and strategy roles, and also in the professional services sector across Europe, Asia and Australia. Tim holds bachelor degrees in Law and Economics (honours) from the University of Sydney and a Master of Philosophy (International Relations) from Cambridge University. He is a fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and Chair of the Benevolent Society.
Kelly Ralston—acting Deputy CEO, Digital Services and Outreach
Responsible for Austrade’s client interactions; client experience insights and capability; engagement with other government agencies; and brand strategy, marketing and communications.
Kelly Ralston has held a number of senior corporate, strategy and business leadership roles across Austrade since 2001. She most recently led the international marketing and promotion of Australia’s education and training sectors. From 2011 to 2015, Kelly served as Senior Trade Commissioner at the Australian Embassy in Washington, DC, and the Australian Consulate-General in Houston, Texas. Prior to joining Austrade, she worked in a range of other roles within the Australian Government. Kelly holds a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws from the University of Tasmania.
Rob Donelly—Chief Operating Officer
Responsible for finance, human resources, legal, property and security, governance, and IT operations.
Rob Donelly brings a depth of knowledge to Austrade’s business operations. He previously served as the Executive Member of the Foreign Investment Review Board. Prior to this role, Rob worked in a range of senior financial and policy roles, both in the ACT Government and the Australian Public Service. He served as Treasury’s Chief Financial Officer from 2008 to 2012, and led teams working on income tax and superannuation policy. He also served as Chief Financial Officer to the ACT Department of Education and Training from 2003 to 2008. Rob holds degrees in Economics and Commerce from the Australian National University and is a fellow of CPA Australia.
Jay Meek—General Manager, Strategy and Design
Responsible for the development of Austrade’s strategy and guiding thetransformation journey.
Jay Meek has been the General Manager of the Strategy and Design division since May 2020. Immediately before this, he was the General Manager for Strategy and Business Transformation. From 2018 to 2019, he was the Chief Strategy Officer and the Victorian State Director for Austrade. This role focused on developing trade and investment strategy for Austrade globally, as well as engaging with key stakeholders in Victoria. Jay worked for the Victorian Government as the Deputy Secretary of Trade Victoria from 2015 to 2018. He led the international trade strategy for Trade Victoria, and managed 23 international offices and more than 200 staff. The role focused on international business development, trade policies, market intelligence and export market entry/growth strategies. Jay has also served in management positions in Australian companies. He holds a Bachelor of Agriculture from the University of Adelaide.
Audit and Risk Committee
Table 2 provides details of Austrade’s Audit and Risk Committee membership during 2019–20, including members’ qualifications, attendance at meetings and remuneration.
Table 2: Austrade’s Audit and Risk Committee, 2019–20
QUALIFICATIONS, KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE
NUMBER OF MEETINGS ATTENDED
TOTAL ANNUAL REMUNERATION
Ms Clark has an extensive background in business and governance through a career as an investment banker and as a non-executive director since 1991.
She has been the chair, deputy chair or member of over 20 audit committees and boards in the Commonwealth and private sectors over the past 30 years. She is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and has substantial experience in financial and performance reporting, audit and risk management.
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Carol Lilley (independent member)
Ms Lilley is an independent board director and chair or member of a number of Commonwealth Government audit committees. She was a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers and has over 20 years’ experience in financial statements audit, internal audit, and project and risk management, with a particular focus on government.
Ms Lilley holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Western Australia. She is a graduate of the Institute of Company Directors, a Fellow of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, and a certified internal auditor, and was a registered company auditor.