THE OFFICE of the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman has welcomed the appointment of former Liberal Government Small Business Minister, Bruce Billson, to the post.

Mr Billson will start his five-year term as Ombudsman on Thursday, March 11, 2021, replacing inaugural Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell AO.

Ms Carnell welcomed the appointment, describing the former Small Business Minister as a champion of the sector.

“Having played an integral role in the establishment of the Ombudsman’s office, Mr Billson is well positioned to carry the torch,” Ms Carnell said. “He is highly regarded by the small business community and I am confident he will be an effective advocate for the sector.” 

Mr Billson thanked outgoing Ombudsman Ms Carnell for her "unwavering commitment to the small business sector over the past five years".

“Ms Carnell leaves a lasting legacy, as a fierce advocate for Australian small businesses and a strong foundation to build on,” Mr Billson said.

“The pandemic has been punishing for many of our small and family businesses, which will need a supportive environment to help lead the nation into recovery.

“All of my efforts will go towards putting the wind in the sails of small business and helping to energise enterprise to Australia’s benefit.

“Most importantly, I’ll be focused on ensuring the small business community has the support and confidence they need to survive and thrive well beyond the COVID crisis.”


MARRAWAH LAW founder and principal solicitor, Leah Cameron was awarded the Women In Law Excellence Award and the Indigenous Lawyer of the Year Award in the annual Lawyer’s Weekly Women in Law Awards on December 10.

The awards program, now in its ninth year, recognises the outstanding women shaping and influencing the legal profession, acknowledging executives, barristers, academics, pro bono, students and other legal professionals.

The 2020 Women in Law awards hybrid event named 35 individual and group winners, with recipients both ‘Zooming in’ over the broadcast platform – and speaking from The Star in Sydney – to a combined live and virtual audience of about 750 guests.

In accepting her award, Ms Cameron acknowledged those who had nominated and supported her and outlined the factors that have helped shape her success.

“Firstly, I want to acknowledge all of the finalists – I am proud to be in your company,” Ms Cameron said. “I was genuinely surprised, but I am very honoured to be awarded both of these awards. 

“I am grateful to Holding Redlich for nominating me and I thank my wonderful and supportive team at Marrawah Law for the work that they do – it continues to inspire me every day.

“Being part of this event has shown me the incredible outcomes female lawyers are achieving in every fact of the profession,” Ms Cameron said. "As a champion for increased gender and racial diversity within the law, these awards encourage me to push for opportunities and outcomes for my team, colleagues and emerging practitioners.

“These awards also remind me of why I established Marrawah Law, to continue to work with our clients and make an impact for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people right across Australia.

“I also want to thank them for their continuous trust and confidence in the Marrawah Law team,” Ms Cameron said.


THE Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell has congratulated the winners of the Outstanding Western Sydney Women Awards, "many of whom are hard-working small and family business owners".

The awards, held in Bankstown last night, recognised the resilience and agility of community leaders, entrepreneurs and tradies in this challenging time.

“Congratulations to the winners and finalists – who are all exceptional women,” Ms Carnell said.

“It’s inspiring to see these extraordinary women recognised for their success, despite the incredibly difficult year that 2020 has been.

“Maxine Merle Colligan – a world-renowned spray painter – took out the overall Outstanding Western Sydney Woman title and I congratulate her on being a leader in her field as well as an impressive advocate for her fellow women in trades," Ms Carnell said.

“Among her most recent achievements, Maxine represented Australia at the WorldSkills International Competition in Russia, winning the Best of Nation Award 2019 and placing in a number of other categories. 

“She also devotes much of her spare time to mentoring up-and-coming spray painting students," she said.

“My office is a proud partner of these awards and supports the efforts of Western Sydney Women, which aims to help women in the region advance their businesses and career paths.

“Western Sydney Women has been highly effective in connecting women in the region and assisting them in achieving their business and career goals," Ms Carnell said.

“Research shows the most successful small businesses are created by those who have a network or mentors for support. Western Sydney Women offers a critical mass of female entrepreneurial role models.

“It was an honour to take part in this year’s Outstanding Western Sydney Women Awards, celebrating the achievements of these talented women.”


THE Board of Directors of CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, has reappointed Larry Marshall as chief executive for a further three years. Dr Marshall joined CSIRO in 2015.  

David Thodey, chair of the CSIRO board,has commended Dr Marshall’s achievements. 

“CSIRO plays an important and unique role in the lives of all Australians as the national science agency. Recent events have brought this into sharp focus, including the devastating bushfires and COVID-19," Mr Thodey said.

"CSIRO is a great Australian institution that helps our nation respond to our changing world, anticipate the future, and deliver great science and research that benefits society, the environment, and the economy,” Mr Thodey said.

“Over the last five years, Larry’s leadership of CSIRO has seen our impact on Australia grow. We have seen significant progress across a number of areas including: growth in economic benefit for Australia from CSIRO’s science; a ten-fold increase in CSIRO’s equity portfolio; a capable and engaged team of scientists and researchers committed to serving our nation; and the highest number of partnerships with industry for 30 years.”

Dr Marshall introduced Strategy 2020 shortly after joining the organisation to focus CSIRO towards continued science excellence, while aiming to amplify the delivery of solutions from science - translating endeavour to initiatives that put science in the hands of the community, business and the public.

“The board thanks Larry and CSIRO’s 5,500 people for their achievements over the past five years," Mr Thodey said. "Under Larry’s leadership, our vision for the future of CSIRO will ensure our world-class scientific and research organisation continues to make an impact.

"We are delighted that Larry has agreed to lead the organisation in the next chapter of its history,” Mr Thodey said.

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews thanked Dr Marshall for his passion in leading CSIRO.

"The role of science and the work of the national science and industrial research agency has never been more crucial after the summer of bushfires and during the COVID-19 pandemic," Ms Andrews said.

"I look forward to continuing to work with Dr Marshall across a range of important areas of science and industry research which will benefit all Australians."

Commenting on his reappointment, Dr Marshall thanked "Team CSIRO for their commitment and passion". 

“It’s a privilege to lead an organisation trusted by so many Australians. Our people are inspiring – committed to creating a better future for all Australians,” Dr Marshall said.

“While we have achieved much, there is more to deliver as we emerge from the current crisis. Our focus on delivering real solutions from science will help Australia grow to even greater strengths, just as we have seen before over CSIRO’s 100-year legacy.”


THE Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) board has announced the appointment of Darren Rudd as CEO, effective from Monday, June 29.

AFTA chair Tom Manwaring said Mr Rudd was selected following a rigorous executive recruitment process.

“Darren is an outstanding choice, with a wealth of experience across business and stakeholder management. The skills and networks he brings to the role will be invaluable as we navigate the new and emerging industry landscape," Mr Manwaring said.  

Mr Rudd is joining AFTA from the global information business Tata Consultancy Services, where he was head of corporate affairs in Australia and New Zealand for the past four years. 

Mr Rudd brings to the organisation extensive experience in strategic marketing and corporate engagement, including 11 years as general manager of the Services Business Group Asia/Pacific for Alcatel-Lucent and five years as lead corporate affairs manager at NBN. The appointment also marks a full circle for the new CEO. Mr Rudd began his career in Hong Kong designing core Hotel Information Systems (HIS/IBM).

“Darren’s track record in successfully mapping and implementing campaigns that deliver results, his commitment to harnessing the immense power of our AFTA members through targeted grassroots activation, and his ability to identify and convert opportunities into real advantage were instrumental in him being selected for the role," Mr Mr Manwaring said.

Mr Rudd said, “It is an honour to join AFTA at this critical time. I look forward to working with members, the board and industry stakeholders as we work our way through the current economic difficulties and the challenges that lie ahead. 

“The future is very different to that which we imagined six months ago. Yet travel and tourism remain cornerstones of the Australian economy. It is important that governments and regulators understand that getting the policy and regulatory settings right will not only help the sector but contribute substantially to the nation’s overall economic wellbeing.”


ENTERPRISE cloud computing group Nutanix has appointed Lee Thompson as managing director of Nutanix for Australia and New Zealand. 

Based in Sydney, Mr Thompson will be responsible for driving customer acquisition and continued expansion of the company’s regional presence, with a focus on commercial and enterprise customers.  

Mr Thompson’s comprehensive experience and cloud credentials should be a significant boost for Nutanix. He brings more than 20 years of leadership experience in Asia, Europe, North America and Australia to the role and joins after a short tenure at EziHub Australia as interim chief operations officer.  

Prior to that he led Oracle/NetSuite as group vice president for the Japan Asia-Pacific region and was senior vice president of corporate sales at Salesforce Asia-Pacific – roles that together provided over a decade of frontline cloud exposure and experience. Mr Thompson has also held senior managerial positions at Borland, Artisoft and Pilot Software. 

“We are witnessing a fundamental shift in the way corporate Australia and New Zealand does, and will do, business in the future.” Mr Thompson said. “Recent events have shown the importance of technology, and the critical role that cloud and hyper-converged infrastructure will play in helping secure our economy in the future. 

“As the region looks to develop a new technology infrastructure for a post-COVID-19 world, Nutanix will be in a prime position to help support and navigate that transformation.” 

Mr Thompson will report directly to Nutanix vice president for South Asia Pacific, Neville Vincent.

“Lee’s breadth of experience, international exposure and intimate understanding of the challenges facing modern businesses will help accelerate our A/NZ business to the next level,” Mr Vincent said.

“We have an outstanding, energised and highly motivated team already in place eager for the guidance and direction Lee can provide. Under his stewardship, we are confident we will be better placed to help A/NZ businesses adapt to the new post-pandemic reality.”

Mr Thompson’s appointment comes as Nutanix ramps up investment in the region. The company has increased its presence across both countries, expanded its sales and support teams and accelerated its customer acquisitions with more than 30 government agencies and some of the region’s largest and most prominent enterprises, including 20 of the ASX top 100.


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