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Australian Public Service Commissioner Peter Woolcott AO named new ANZSOG Board Chair

18 November 2020

News and media


Peter Woolcott AO headshot


Australian Public Service Commissioner Peter Woolcott AO has been named the new Chair of the Australia and New Zealand School of Government’s (ANZSOG) Board.

Mr Woolcott was elected Chair on Wednesday 18 November 2020 at the ANZSOG Annual General meeting.

Mr Woolcott said it was a privilege to be taking on this Chair role from his colleague, New Zealand State Services Commissioner, Peter Hughes CNZM and paid respect to his colleague’s strong leadership.

“Peter Hughes has skilfully led ANZSOG through a time of great change. He has ensured this strong institution has maintained, and built upon, its core role of helping public servants develop the skills and knowledge they need to deliver for all Australians and New Zealanders,” Mr Woolcott said.

“I am honoured to take on the role of Chair of ANZSOG’s Board. I strongly believe in the work ANZSOG does to equip our public servants to respond to any challenge thrown at them. Public servants, in both countries, are committed to service because they want to make a difference in people’s lives. ANZSOG plays a critical role in equipping our public servants to do just that through their public administration education and research.

“I believe there is particular strength in the cohesive approach ANZSOG takes in having both countries, and Australian states and territories, all working toward shaping our governance. I look forward to leading ANZSOG in the next phase of our collective public service future.”

ANZSOG Dean and CEO, Professor Ken Smith, welcomed Mr Woolcott’s appointment.

“I am delighted that Peter Woolcott’s election as Chair will ensure he continues to contribute to ANZSOG’s strategy by leading the work of the Board and bringing his vast experience in leadership in the Australian public service, internationally and domestically, to help steer ANZSOG in meeting government needs over the coming years,” Professor Smith said.

“I would again like to express my thanks to Peter Hughes for his work as Chair and a key member of the Board over the past three years, and his continued commitment to the ‘spirit of service’ and the vital role of an independent, high-quality public service.

“The last year has been a challenging one for ANZSOG as we, like many other agencies, have been forced to make rapid changes to the way we work to respond to the pandemic. The Board has played a vital role in strategically positioning ANZSOG, strongly for 2021 and beyond.

“I look forward to continue to work closely with Peter Woolcott as Chair and members of the board as ANZSOG continues to evolve in response to changing demand in the years ahead.”

Mr Woolcott commenced as the APS Commissioner on 9 August 2018 and has been an ANZSOG director for the past year.

He has had a distinguished career in the Australian Public Service, serving in senior diplomatic positions around the world.

He served as Australia’s High Commissioner to New Zealand (2016–2017), Ambassador for the Environment (2014–16), Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva and Ambassador for Disarmament (2010–2014), Ambassador for People Smuggling Issues (2009), and Ambassador to Italy (2004–2007).

Mr Woolcott previously served as the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff.

He was appointed an Officer in the Order of Australia in 2017 for his distinguished service to public administration in the field of international relations, and as a lead negotiator in the non-proliferation and arms control fields.

The Board meeting also saw two new independent members begin their terms:

Ann Sherry AO as an Independent Director, replacing Ms Robyn Kruk. Ms Sherry brings significant experience in executive roles within the banking, tourism and transport industries in Australia and New Zealand, together with significant experience in government and public service in senior Australian Government positions, including Director, Office of Women.
Belinda Clark QSO as an Independent Director, replacing Dame Karen Sewell. Ms Clark is currently Commissioner at Te Aka Matua o te Ture Law Commission. Ms Clark has been an experienced senior Public Service leader and executive director in both New Zealand and Australia. She has held a number of Chief Executive roles; including Secretary for Justice for ten years; Chief Executive of the Tertiary Education Commission; Director of the Office of Treaty Settlements; and Victorian Public Sector Commissioner in Australia (2014-2017).
Jeremi Moule, Secretary of the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet will also join the Board as the Victorian representative. Find the full ANZSOG Board here.

For a full list of the ANZSOG Board, please visit the ANZSOG governance page.