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Business leader David Thodey appointed to Chair CSIRO Board

6 August 2015

Experienced Australian businessman and former Telstra CEO David Thodey has been appointed the new Chair of the Board of CSIRO for the next five years.

Minister for Industry and Science Ian Macfarlane said the appointment is more evidence of the Australian Government’s clear strategy to put science at the centre of industry policy.

“Mr Thodey is one of Australia’s most well-known and respected businessmen. He will bring a wealth of industry acumen to Australia’s peak science agency as it plays an increasingly central role in maximising our economic opportunities and industry growth,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“We know that capitalising on our nation’s areas of competitive strength and securing the jobs of the future in the fast changing global economy will depend on lifting the rate of collaboration between industry and researchers.

“The Australian Government has set out a clear pathway to ensure our nation’s best researchers and our nation’s most productive industries can work to mutual advantage by making the best use of our $9.7 billion annual investment in science and research.

“CSIRO is at the heart of this process and Mr Thodey’s appointment to work alongside our nation’s most respected scientists will further enhance our record on collaboration and commercialisation.

“CSIRO will work with the new Industry Growth Centres, the refocussed CRC Programme and the Australian Government’s Entrepreneurs’ Programme to ensure a comprehensive, accessible and effective industry network that delivers outcomes for businesses – whether it be creating new jobs, sourcing new investments, linking with researchers or reaching into global markets.

“Mr Thodey is an innovative Australian businessman and an experienced board chairman and senior executive who offers expertise in management, corporate and government relations, information and communications technology, and sales and marketing.

“Mr Thodey’s experience in building business networks will be valuable to CSIRO as it implements its new 2020 Strategy.”

Mr Thodey said, “I feel privileged and honoured to be asked to contribute to the future of the CSIRO – an outstanding community of researchers and scientists.”

“As the Minister has said, we, as a nation, have an important opportunity to collaborate across the research community and industry to improve Australia’s global competitiveness.  This is essential for the future of our country.

“Consistent with the new CSIRO vision, I hope that the CSIRO can be a catalyst for innovation across key focus industries and the wider community.  We must make sure that Australia remains a global leader in the areas of science, research and industry innovation.”

Mr Thodey was the CEO of Telstra from May 2009 to April 2015. He has been credited with significantly increasing Telstra’s share price and doubling the value of the company.

Before joining Telstra, Mr Thodey had a 22-year career with IBM, working in senior marketing and sales positions, including CEO of IBM Australia/New Zealand.

Mr Thodey will join the board in November.

Media contact: Mr Macfarlane's office 02 6277 7070

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