A NSW Government website

Our members

Our members are eminent experts from across industry, academia, and government. They are appointed by the Governor of New South Wales for three-year term. The current Council commenced in 2023.

Charlie Taylor


Charlie recently retired as a McKinsey Senior Partner after thirty years. For the first decade, he lived and worked in Australia, USA, Hong Kong, Japan, and South Africa, serving clients across the mining, financial, agriculture and telecoms sectors. For the second decade he led the Indonesian practice from Jakarta and the Asian Logistics/Infrastructure practice from Singapore. He returned in 2008 to Sydney and built and led Health and Public Sector practices.

He trained as an economist and lawyer, receiving a BEc (First Class) and LLB (Hons) at the University of Sydney. He was awarded a Commonwealth Scholarship leading to a MPhil in Economics at Cambridge. He worked with Citicorp Treasury prior to McKinsey.

He initiated multi-year research efforts on productivity and innovation topics, including the 2012 report, “Beyond the Boom. Australia’s Productivity Imperative”, and the 2019 report “Australia’s Automation opportunity”. Charlie drew on this research for a number of NSW government projects, including the 2016 Jobs for the Future report.

He is a currently a part-time senior advisor at McKinsey, and director of agricultural companies. Charlie supports educational and political not for profits as a chair and board member, and recently finished five years with the Committee for Sydney Board. He was born and raised on a farm near Cooma, and he his wife Kelley have seven children.

Katie Knight

Deputy Secretary, Investment NSW

Executive Member

Katie is results-focused, with a passion for collaboration and effective stakeholder engagement to maximise outcomes and the growth of our future economy.

Katie has practiced as a corporate and transactional lawyer for over 20 years, with much of her career focused in the life sciences sector, including acting for biotechnology and start-up companies with venture capital and angel investments, through to commercialising technologies and capital raising for R&D companies and sophisticated market players.

In August 2022, Katie was appointed to lead Investment NSW. In this role, Katie is committed to delivering economic and social benefits for the people of NSW by growing our economy and making opportunities happen.

In her previous role, she was the Executive Director of the Commercial Transactions team of the Department of Enterprise Investment and Trade where her role involved working with the private sector to deliver innovative places, precincts and infrastructure, including though the government’s unsolicited proposals and direct dealing processes.

Professor Patricia Davidson

Vice-Chancellor of University of Wollongong

Professor Patricia M. Davidson joined the University of Wollongong as Vice-Chancellor in May 2021. Prior to her current role, Professor Davidson was dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing in Baltimore in the United States. In 2021 she was the recipient of the Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH) Distinguished Leader Award. This honour celebrates her exceptional contributions to the advancement of global health worldwide.

As a global leader in nursing, health care, and advocacy, Professor Davidson’s work focuses on person-centred care delivery and the improvement of cardiovascular health outcomes for women and vulnerable populations. She has extensively studied chronic conditions, transitional care, palliative care, and the translation of innovative, acceptable, and sustainable health initiatives across the world.

Professor Davidson serves as counsel general of the International Council on Women’s Health Issues, and was a past board member of CUGH and secretary general of the Secretariat of the World Health Organizations Collaborating Centres for Nursing and Midwifery. She also serves on the Board of Health Care Services for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in the United States.

Professor S. Bruce Dowton

Vice Chancellor and President of Macquarie University

Professor S Bruce Dowton has served as Vice-Chancellor and President of Macquarie University since September 2012. He is a paediatrician, clinical geneticist, molecular biologist, researcher and academic, and has served as a senior medical executive at a range of universities, healthcare institutions and consulting organisations. Prior to returning to Australia, he served as a paediatrician at the Massachusetts General Hospital for Children, and as Clinical Professor of Paediatrics at Harvard Medical School. He has lived and worked globally in many cultures and contexts.

Using the long-term strategic framework for the University, developed during Professor Dowton’s first year, Macquarie University has established an ethos of service and engagement at the heart of its learning, teaching, research and external activities. The framework has subsequently enabled a dramatic improvement in research performance, a synthesis of traditional and technological learning and teaching activities, deeper relationships with corporate and industry partners (including the launch of the Macquarie Park Innovation District, now Connect MPID), significantly enhanced philanthropic giving and a series of multi-million-dollar capital works on campus. Professor Dowton’s ability to clarify complexity and his highly engaging personal style have since become hallmarks of his Vice-Chancellorship.

Jennifer Herz

Co-founder and Director – Biointelect

Jennifer Herz, GAICD, co-founded Biointelect and Biocelect to provide end to end strategic commercialisation services to the biopharmaceutical sector.

Jennifer has over twenty years commercialisation experience and has held a variety of roles with responsibility for Australia, New Zealand and European markets. She was the first Managing Director of Sanofi Pasteur which was a start-up company and grew significantly to be an established major provider of vaccines in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Region.

Jennifer is a Director of two US based biotech company’s Australian subsidiaries and has over twenty years Board experience across publicly listed, private and not-for-profit sectors. She is a member of the NHMRC’s Health Research Impact Committee and the Expert Reference Group of the Australian Partnership for Preparedness Research on Infectious Disease Emergencies (APPRISE). 

She has previously served on the Board of Medicines Australia as Director and Vice Chair. She was also active in a variety of European and International Industry Association working groups responsible for liaison with health authorities including European Institutions and the WHO.

Jennifer has extensive international network of scientific and industry experts across many therapeutic areas and healthcare sectors along with global experience in multiple new product launches and start-ups at all stages of development.

Jillian Kilby

Founder – The Infrastructure Collaborative Managing Director – The Stable Group

An Australian Sir John Monash Foundation Scholar and Civil Engineer, Jillian is firmly fixed in her pursuit to leave a legacy of lasting change across regional Australia.

In 2021, Jillian co-founded The Stable Group - a regional consulting firm operating to serve the needs of clients at the intersection of the private sector, Local Councils and government departments in regional NSW.

In 2018, Jillian founded The Exchange, a regionally-based social impact innovation organisation that focuses on community and coworking. Jillian bought and renovated an 1880s iconic post office in Dubbo and a heritage Cordial Factory in Narrabri which have been restored and converted into vibrant coworking spaces. 

It is her vision for The Exchange to change the business landscape across regional NSW in the next 5 years, giving regional business owners and employees in multiple locations, access to the space and support they need to start, grow and succeed.

Jillian holds a number of advisory roles, including as Director of the James Martin Institute for Public Policy, Member of the Council for Women’s Economic Opportunity, Chair of the Regional Advisory Panel for the Daily Telegraph Bush Summit, and Member of the NSW Skills Board.

She holds degrees in Civil Engineering (Sydney) and Master of Business Administration (Stanford) and Master of Public Policy (Stanford). She is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and is the Managing Director of The Stable Group and The Exchange.

Richard Kimber

Founder and Director – Daisee

Richard Kimber is a seasoned international Financial Services and Technology CEO and experienced Board Director and Chair.  

Mr. Kimber is currently Non-Executive Director and Chair of the Technology & Transformation Committee at ING Bank Australia Ltd.  He is Chairman of Stone & Chalk – the largest start up and scale up ecosystem in Australia, Chairman of AustCyber – a Federal Government industry growth centre, and a Non-Executive Director of Daisee; a pioneering AI software company he founded in 2017.  Prior to this role he was CEO of ASX listed OFX Group, a leading international payment company. In 2006 he was appointed as the first Managing Director of Google in Southeast Asia; Prior to this he was Chief Executive of firstdirect Bank in the UK – the original ‘neobank’.  This followed several international roles with the HSBC Group, including; Global Head of Internet Marketing based out of New York and the APAC leader for eCommerce based out of Hong Kong.  

Mr Kimber has a Bachelor of Science (Psychology/Statistics) and an MBA from MGSM (1992).

Professor Renee Leon PSM

Vice-Chancellor and President of Charles Sturt University

Professor Renée Leon is the Vice-Chancellor and President of Charles Sturt University, a role she commenced in September 2021.

She has extensive experience in Commonwealth and State public administration, covering policy, program management and service delivery, and was appointed National President of the Institute of Public Administration Australia in 2022.

Professor Leon has been the Secretary of two Commonwealth Departments – the Department of Human Services and the Department of Employment – and has served as the CEO of the ACT Department of Justice and Community Safety.

Her expertise in leadership and change management underpinned the establishment of the Department of Employment as a high-performing organisation and the transformation of services and culture in the Department of Human Services.

Professor Leon holds a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws from the Australian National University and a Master of Laws from the University of Cambridge, which she attended as the Menzies Foundation Law Scholar in 1995.

In 2013, she was awarded a Public Service Medal in 2013 for outstanding service to public administration and law in leadership roles in the Australian Capital Territory and the Commonwealth.

Professor Leon is a Fellow of the Institute of Public Administration Australia and a member of Chief Executive Women Australia.

Rod Lopez

Chief Operating Officer and Regional President APAC - Nanosonics Ltd

Rod is an international operations executive with over 25 years of experience, having held critical roles accountable for the development and execution of operational strategies for companies such as Nanosonics, where he currently serves as Chief Operating Officer and Regional President APAC, Cochlear and General Motors Holden.

During his 13-year tenure at Cochlear, Rod held a number of transformative roles, including Global Head of Manufacturing and Chair of the Corporate Operational Excellence Strategy Group. At General Motors Holden, Rod held senior management roles such as Launch/Operations Manager of Holden’s $400m HFV6 engine plant, and Global Customer Liaison Manager for Holden Engine Operations, at the time, the largest manufacturer of export goods in Australia.

Rod is also an award winning academic and Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (UK) with continuing Adjunct Faculty appointments for over 15 years with AGSM@UNSW, Macquarie Business School (formerly MGSM), UTS Business School and The University of Sydney Business School. Rod has designed and delivered numerous academic and executive development programs, including accredited MBA programs, corporate workshops and interventions, and trained over 2,000 business leaders from many industries and backgrounds, including customer service, sales, marketing, IT, finance, health care, hospitality, education, FMCG, utilities, construction, agriculture, government and infrastructure.

Sue MacLeman

Advisor and Non Executive Director MTP Sector

Sue MacLeman has more than 30 years’ experience as a pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical technology executive having held senior roles in corporate, medical, commercial and business development. Sue has served as CEO and Board member of several ASX, AIM and NASDAQ listed companies in the healthtech sector. Sue is appointed to several academic and government advisory boards. Sue is currently a Non Executive Director of Rhythm Biosciences Ltd, Planet Innovations Holdings Ltd, OMICO, and ATSE.  Her broad commercial and technical experience is underpinned by a Bachelor of Pharmacy from the University of Queensland, a Master of Laws from Deakin University and a Master of Marketing from Melbourne Business School. She ­is also a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE) and Fellow/Graduate of Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD).

George Peppou

CEO and Founder – Vow Foods

George is CEO and co-founder of Vow. Vow makes better meat for meat lovers, tastier, more nutritious, more functional or more convenient - all by growing the cells of animals. Vow is backed by top tier investors from all over the world, with a team of over 80 is based in Sydney, Australia.

George began his career as a chef whilst studying biochemistry at the University of Sydney. George is a serial entrepreneur and inventor, with over 30 patents granted. 

Dr Richard Sheldrake AM FTSE

Dr Sheldrake had a 38-year career in the NSW Public Service, and was Director-General of four Departments (Agriculture, Natural Resources, Industry and Investment, and Primary Industries) between 2002 and 2013, when he retired.  

Richard has had a long-term commitment to rural and regional Australia, focusing on issues such as farm productivity and profitability, rural research and development, natural resource management, and our national plant and animal biosecurity systems. 

Richard is currently a member of the Board of the Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, The Crawford Fund and Science in Australia Gender Equity Ltd.

Sally-Ann Williams FTSE

Chief Executive Officer – Cicada Innovations

As the CEO of Cicada Innovations Sally-Ann leads Australia’s pioneering deep tech incubator building companies solving the world's most pressing problems through science & engineering. Cicada Innovations has nurtured hundreds of visionary deep tech innovators to validate, commercialise and scale high impact technologies globally across MedTech, HealthTech, AgTech, FoodTech, Clean Energy, AI, Manufacturing 4.0 and more.

Sally-Ann is currently serving as Chair of the Pathway to Diversity in STEM Review for the Federal Government. She is an experienced Non Executive Board member currently serving on the boards of Cicada Innovations, Qudos Bank, NSSN, and AusOcean. She also serves as Advisory Group Member for CSIRO’s Data61, Chair of the Computing Advisory Board at ANU, as well as the advisory board member of the Heavy Ion Accelerator NCRIS Facility, NSW Government Tech Central Advisory Board, and a member of the Centre for Entrepreneurial Agri-Technology governance committee.

Sally-Ann has been involved in driving national engagement and change strategies in innovation & entrepreneurship, Computer Science and STEM education as a member of the COAG STEM Partnership Forum and contributed to the foundation of StartupAUS [now Tech Council of Australia], a non-profit with a mission to transform Australia through technology entrepreneurship. She has led several cross-sector working groups to drive change both in the policy & cultural transformation needed to grow a thriving technology driven economy.

Prior to Cicada, Sally-Ann was an Executive Program Manager at Google for 12 years where she led Google’s efforts in entrepreneurship and startup engagement, research collaborations with universities and CS and STEM education & outreach (K-12).

Professor Alex Zelinsky AO

Vice-Chancellor and President of University of Newcastle

Professor Zelinsky is University of Newcastle’s Vice-Chancellor and President since November 2018.   

Prior to joining the University, Professor Zelinsky was Chief Defence Scientist, leading Defence Science and Technology. He was also previously Group Executive for Information Sciences at CSIRO, and CEO and co-founder of start-up Seeing Machines, a technology company focused on computer vision from ANU where he was a Professor of Systems Engineering.   

Professor Zelinsky’s career spans innovation, science and technology, research and commercial start-ups and education.   

He has a Bachelor of Mathematical Sciences (Honours), Doctor of Philosophy, and Honorary Doctor of Science from the University of Wollongong and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and has completed the Advanced Management Program from Harvard University.   

He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering, the Institute of Engineers Australia, and the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Professor Zelinsky has received numerous national and international awards, including being appointed an Officer in the Order of Australia (AO) in 2017.   

Special Advisors

Professor Attila Brungs

Vice-Chancellor of the University of New South Wales

Professor Attila Brungs is the Vice-Chancellor of the University of New South Wales. He was previously Vice-Chancellor of the University of Technology Sydney. He has also held senior positions with the CSIRO, and McKinsey & Company.

Professor Brungs is a Rhodes Scholar with a Doctorate in Inorganic Chemistry from Oxford University, and a University Medal in Industrial Chemistry from the University of NSW. 

Some of Professor Brungs’ present key appointments include ATN Chair; the Committee for Sydney Board; and Fellow of the Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering. His experience includes many distinguished past board and committee memberships including not-for-profit organisations, in addition to numerous state and federal government and institutional appointments.

Professor Julie Cairney

Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Research Enterprise, the University of Sydney

Professor Julie Cairney is the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research Enterprise) at the University of Sydney, where she supports strategies to enhance industry collaboration, improve research commercialisation and increase the impact of the University’s research through partnership with industry, government and the community. She previously served as CEO of Microscopy Australia, a national infrastructure facility that provides open-access microscopy platforms and expertise across Australia.

A Professor of Engineering and ARC Future Fellow, she is also a leading researcher specialising in using advanced microscopy to study the three-dimensional structure of materials at the atomic scale. Her projects cover mitigation of hydrogen embrittlement in steels, corrosion, nuclear materials and biominerals. Many of these projects are carried out in collaboration with industry. Her work is published in the top international journals, including Science and the Nature series. She has received a number of awards for this work, including the 2020 Acta Materialia Silver Medal, an international prize that recognises scientific contributions and leadership in materials science.

A graduate of the AICD, she sits on a number of Boards, including Uniseed, the NSW Smart Sensing Network and several start-up companies. She is also a passionate contributor to the broader scientific community. She has served on the ARC College of Experts and the New Zealand Marsden Fund and was the Vice President of the International Field Emission Society. She was selected as one the World Economic Forum (WEF)’s 50 Young Scientists of 2016.

Professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte

NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer

Hugh Durrant-Whyte is the NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer and Natural Resources Commissioner. Prior to his appointment, Hugh was Chief Scientific Advisor to the UK Ministry of Defence from 2016-18. He has also been a Professor and ARC Federation Fellow at the University of Sydney (2014-16 and 2002-2010), CEO of National ICT Australia (NICTA) from 2010-2014, and Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Autonomous Systems and of the Australian Centre for Field Robotics (ACFR) from 1995-2010. 

Hugh is a world-leading authority on machine learning and robotics, and applications in areas including cargo handling, mining and defence. He has published over 300 research papers, graduated over 70 PhD students, and has won numerous awards and prizes for his work, including 2010 NSW Scientist of the Year and 2008 Engineers Australia NSW Engineer of the Year. 

In his career he has worked with many major companies and has co-founded three successful start-up companies. He is particularly well known for his work with Patrick Terminals in delivering the automated container terminals in Brisbane and Port Botany, and for his work with Rio Tinto in pioneering and delivering the automated “Mine of the Future”. He is an honorary Fellow of Engineers Australia (HonFIEAus), a Fellow of the IEEE (FIEEE), Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng), Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science (FAA), and a Fellow of the Royal Society of London (FRS).

Neville Stevens AO

Mr Stevens has extensive experience chairing panels and reviews in the private and public sectors and is a distinguished former public servant who headed two major Australian Government departments. 

Since retiring as Secretary of the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts in 2001, Mr Stevens has been Chair of a number of public and private organisations, conducted major Australian Government reviews and worked extensively as a consultant on both business- and government-related issues. These roles have included: 

  • Chair, Australian Press Council; 
  • Chair, NSW Innovation and Productivity Council;
  • Chairman of NICTA (Australia’s Information and Communications Technology Research Centre of Excellence);