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Bennett is Virgin's new spinner, Gschwind to Griffith: New executive appointments column


Business Editor John McCarthy wraps up the biggest corporate moves this week in a new column each Friday.

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Virgin goes to Woolies

Virgin Australia has appointed Christian Bennett as its Corporate Affairs executive following the departure of Moksha Watts last year.

Watts took up a job for Prime Minister Athony Albanese.

Bennett had been working as Woolworths’ chief reputation officer and had previously worked with the likes of BHP and Santos.

Tritium adds to finance team

Electric vehicle fast charging company Tritium has appointed former Intel executive Rob Topol to its finance team.

Topol is expected to transition to the role of chief financial officer and will work with the incumbent CFO Michael Hipwood until Tritium’s earnings announcement in September.

Topol has worked as a senior finance executive at Intel for 20 years and led the strategy for 5G and Next Gen wireless technology divisions.

He worked as CFO for Intel’s global supply chain and for its communications and devices division based in China.

Butler gets a green chair

Former federal MP for Griffith Terri Butler has been appointed chair of Circular Australia, a not-for-profit that advances the circular economy.

Butler, who lost her seat at the last election to the Greens, said increasing the uptake of circular economy practices “has plenty of upside including greenhouse gas emissions reduction, and better outcomes for nature”.

Gschwind joins Griffith

The former head of the Queensland Tourism Industry Council Daniel Gschwind has joined the Griffith Institute for Tourism at Griffith University.

Gschwind will be a Professor of Practice. He was chief executive of QTIC for 21 years before stepping down earlier this year.

The institute’s director, Associate Professor Sarah Gardiner, said her organisation was enormously excited about Gschwind joining it.

“Daniel played such a leadership role guiding the tourism industry through the pandemic and there are a lot of lessons to learn from him in terms of building resilience for future challenges,” she said.

New Hope adds a director

Coal producer New Hope has appointed Steve Boulton to its board as an independent, non-executive director.

Boulton is the chair of SeaSwift and KC 8 Capture as well as a director of Fulton Hogan.

He has served on more than 20 boards and has more than 40 years of experience in infrastructure, utility and asset fund management.

Thiess exec heads to Stanwell

Catherine Cook has been appointed as chief financial officer at the Government owned generator company Stanwell Corporation.

Cook was deputy CFO at Thiess.

Stanwell has also appointed Glen Smith as executive general manager of business services.

Studio boss signs on

Mark Melrose has been appointed as manager of Screen Queensland studios operations as the organisation heads into a period of expansion.

Melrose’s remit is to drive occupancy at Screen Queensland Studios: Brisbane and oversee the construction and eventual operation of Screen Queensland Studios: Cairns, (opening 2023) plus another facility set for the Gold Coast.

Melrose brings over 25 years’ experience in entertainment and sports operations management to Screen Queensland, most recently as Festival Director of Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival in Winton, where he grew attendance by 311% over his nine years leading the major event.

His other executive positions have included Operations Manager for the 2021 Brisbane International Film Festival (BIFF) and 15 years at Queensland Rugby where he was Head of Operations for eight years following other senior roles.

ART picks up AWU lawyer

The Australian Retirement Trust recently appointed Aaron Santelises to its board.

Santelisis is an industrial advocate and legal adviser to the Australian Workers’ Union.

He has been a director of QLeave and is also a volunteer solicitor with the Caxton Legal Centre.

He replaces Mark Goodey who stepped down from the board in March.

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