Press Release from The Federal Department of Communications and the Digital Economy

The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, today announced six appointments to the ABC and SBS boards under the government's merit-based system.

The new ABC non-executive directors are Professor Fiona Stanley AC and Ms Jane Bennett.

The new SBS non-executive directors are Ms Jacqueline Hey and Ms Daryl Karp. In addition, Dr Bulent Hass Dellal OAM has been appointed as deputy Chairperson of SBS and Ms Patricia Azarias has been reappointed to the SBS Board for a second five-year term.

Senator Conroy said the appointments will strengthen Australia’s national broadcasters.

"I congratulate Professor Stanley, Ms Bennett, Ms Hey, Ms Karp, Dr Dellal and Ms Azarias on their appointments,” Senator Conroy said.

“Each of these appointees brings a wealth of experience, knowledge and skill to the boards of the ABC and SBS.”

This is the third recruitment round for the ABC and SBS boards since the government's merit-based appointment process was implemented in 2008.

"These merit-based appointments demonstrate our resolve to remove political interference and to promote independence in the ABC and SBS boards," said Senator Conroy.

"The Government has made a strong commitment to ensure the future strength and independence of our national broadcasters."

Each of the new appointments and the reappointment of Ms Azarias is for a period of five years from 30 June 2011. The appointment of Dr Dellal as deputy chair is effective until the end of his current term as a non-executive director on 2 June 2015.

Applications for positions on each board were open to all Australians and more than 300 expressions of interest were received.

A four-member independent nomination panel, consisting of Mr Ric Smith AO PSM, Professor Allan Fels AO, Ms Leneen Forde AC and Mr David Gonski AC, assessed applications, interviewed selected candidates and provided the Minister with a short-list of candidates for each board. The four new directors were selected from this short-list.

Legislation to entrench the merit-based appointment process is currently before Parliament.

Professor Fiona Stanley AC – ABC non-executive director

Professor Stanley is an outstanding Australian with expertise in maternal and child health research and a strong ongoing commitment to improving aboriginal and community health. Professor Stanley is a former Australian of the Year and was awarded the Companion of the Order of Australia in 1996.

“Professor Stanley’s technical expertise, her broad involvement in and knowledge of children’s, youth and Indigenous cultural issues, as well as her experience in the management of large organisations will be invaluable to the ABC in fulfilling its charter obligations’, Senator Conroy said.

Ms Jane Bennett – ABC non-executive director

Ms Bennett has been managing director of Ashgrove Cheese Pty Ltd since 2001. In this role she was honoured as ABC Radio Australian Rural Woman of the Year (1997), National Regional Development Award-Young Australian of the Year Awards (1998) and 2010 Tasmanian Telstra Business Woman of the Year. Ms Bennett is currently chair of the Tasmanian State Government Food Industry Advisory Committee and a member of the Brand Tasmania Council. Ms Bennett has previously been a member of the Telecommunications Industry Inquiry, the Regional Telecommunications Inquiry and the Productivity Group of the Australian government’s 2020 Summit.

“Ms Bennett has made a valuable contribution to a range of government boards and inquiries. Her strong background in commerce, management and understanding of the provision of communications services, particularly in regional areas, will provide a valuable perspective to the ABC board," Senator Conroy said.

Ms Jacqueline Hey – SBS non-executive director

Ms Hey was Chief Executive Officer of Ericsson Australia and New Zealand from 2008-10 and has 23 years experience in the local and international communications industry. Previously she was CEO Ericsson UK & Ireland (2004-08) including Saudi Arabia (2005-06). Ms Hey was a member of Ericsson Global Management Team and a member of Ericsson Steering Boards for Global Hutchison, Global Vodafone and Global IT.

“Ms Hey’s comprehensive expertise in telecommunications services, digital rights management and online services at both the management and board level will balance the skills of the existing board. She will also bring an understanding of Australia’s multicultural society and the needs and interests of SBS’s culturally diverse audience, based on her international experience," Senator Conroy said.

Ms Daryl Karp – SBS non-executive director

Ms Karp is a senior consultant with RPR Consulting, specialising in industry analysis, growth and innovation in the creative industries and Managing Director of Tattooed Media Pty Ltd. She is also a director of the Australian Children’s Television Foundation. Her previous positions include CEO and Managing Director, Film Australia, Head of Factual Programs (Television), Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), and Head of Science and Documentaries/Science and Features at the ABC.

“Ms Karp’s extensive experience in Australian broadcasting and media and her understanding of the needs and interests of SBS’s culturally diverse audience will bring value to the SBS board," Senator Conroy said.

Dr Bulent (Hass) Dellal – SBS deputy chairperson

Dr Dellal was appointed as a non-executive Director to the SBS board on 3 June 2010. He has made a significant contribution to the board in the last year, including as a member of the Community Engagement Sub-committee.

“Dr Dellal’s active involvement in the cultural sector, his extensive business experience, service on the SBS board and high-level skills in governance and leadership make him particularly suitable to undertake the responsibilities of deputy Chairperson of the board," Senator Conroy said.

Ms Patricia Azarias – SBS non-executive director

Ms Azarias is currently Regional General Manager for Business and Organisational Performance at the National Australia Bank. She is also Deputy Chair of the NSW Community Relations Commission and a member of the board of the Australian Government’s Australian Reinsurance Pool Corporation. She has served one five year term as a non-executive director of the SBS board and is a member of the SBS Community Advisory and Audit and Finance sub-committees.

“Ms Azarias’ reappointment ensures continuity for the board’s deliberations and enables the SBS to continue to benefit from her considerable experience in the finance industry” Senator Conroy said.

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