Board announced for International Koala Centre of Excellence

South Australia’s International Koala Centre of Excellence (IKCE) has reached a key milestone with the appointment of an inaugural Board of Directors who will serve for the next three years starting today.

The IKCE was launched in 2018 to raise funds to support research into koala management and conservation, supporting the work of scientists at universities, in government and private organisations.

Announcing the board appointments, Minister for Environment and Water David Speirs said the IKCE Board will be led by entrepreneur and environmentalist Ian Drummond.

“Mr Drummond has a background in education and current business interests in tourism in the Northern Territory and South Australia,” said Minister Speirs.

“He brings skills and experience in strategic business development, governance, communication and stakeholder development, innovation and investment as well as establishing and leading start up organisations.

“He will supported in his role by Professor Kristofer Helgen who will serve as deputy chair.

“Professor Helgen is a professor of biological sciences and deputy director of applied conservation at the University of Adelaide.

“He is a renowned Harvard University educated academic, who has worked in more than 50 countries, including 11 years at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC.

“Professor Helgen is an exceptional international public communicator and brings his animal knowledge, extensive zoology, scientific research skills and experience to the IKCE Board.”

The other inaugural Board members are Brian Cunningham, Kristina Roberts, Yvonne Sneddon, and Sandy Carruthers, with the latter two also serving on the IKCE Advisory Board.

“The appointment of the Board is an exciting step in the IKCE’s development,” said Minister Speirs.

“As we move to the next phase, I would like to express my thanks to the members of the advisory board who played a vital role as IKCE was established and made its first important connections with research and conservation partners.

“This includes the Memorandum of Understanding with Longleat Safari Park in the UK, which late last year received koalas from Cleland Wildlife Park, and wombats from South Australia.

“Longleat custodian Lord Weymouth is IKCE’s international patron and will work with us to connect with people around the world to highlight the importance of koala conservation.

“While koala populations in the Adelaide Mt Lofty Ranges are strong, koalas in some parts of Australia are listed as vulnerable to extinction.

“It is possible that in the future South Australia could have the last of the world’s significant koala populations.

“Overcrowding and starvation, as well as the spread of disease, are key threats.

“This is why the IKCE can play an important role in fostering partnerships with scientists to support koala research.”

Background information

The six appointments will be made for 3 years, from 1 July 2019 until 30 June 2022:

  • Mr Ian Geoffrey Drummond – Chair of the IKCE Board

Mr Ian Drummond is an entrepreneur and environmentalist with formal qualifications in education. He is the Executive Chairman of Australian Property Projects, which includes the Aurora Resorts and Hotels Pty Ltd, a major Northern Territory and South Australian tourism business. As Chair of the IKCE, Mr Drummond will provide his skills and experience in strategic business development, governance, communication and stakeholder development, innovation and investment as well as establishing and leading start up organisations.

  • Professor Kristofer Helgen – Deputy Chair

Professor Kristofer Helgen is a professor of biological sciences and deputy director of applied conservation at the University of Adelaide. Professor Helgen is a renowned Harvard University educated international academic, has worked professionally in more than 50 countries, including 11 years sy the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC. He is also member of the Zoos SA Board, holds professorial and other honorary academic appointments at multiple international institutions including the Natural History Museum (London), the American Museum of Natural History (New York), the Australian Museum (Sydney), the South Australian Museum (Adelaide) and the National Geographic Society (Washington, DC). Professor Helgen is an exceptional international public communicator and brings his animal knowledge, extensive zoology, scientific research skills and experience to the Board.

  • Mr Brian Cunningham

Mr Brian Cunningham is a non-executive director and executive director of two private companies, with formal qualifications in science and education and is also a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Mr Cunningham has extensive experience serving and chairing boards, in both the public and private sector. Mr Cunningham is a former chief executive with experience in development of state, national and international markets in the science, technology and the innovation space; in addition to extensive experience in governance and organisational structures, budget setting and financial statements, and Audit and Risk management functions. Mr Cunningham has strong business connections and brings extensive board experience in strategic planning, financial, audit and governance management, fundraising, strategic marketing, media and communication.

  • Ms Kristina Roberts

Ms Kristina Roberts is a private sector chief executive, with formal qualifications in business and accounting. Ms Roberts brings to the board her extensive experience in executive leadership, finance and risk management, corporate governance, media and communications, strategic and change management skills and experience, both in the public and the private sector. Further, Ms Roberts has tourism, marketing and economic growth experience, working with a range of stakeholders, including ministerial and government agency staff, industry and not for profit groups and associations.

  • Ms Yvonne Sneddon

Ms Yvonne Sneddon is a non-executive company director, with extensive private and public sector board and committee experience. Ms Sneddon has formal qualifications as a chartered accountant and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Fellow of the Chartered Accountants Australian and New Zealand. Ms Sneddon brings extensive risk and internal audit, financial, commercial, and strategic and governance management skills and experience. She was a member of the IKCE Advisory Board.

  • Ms Sandy Carruthers – Public Sector Director

Ms Sandy Carruthers is Group Executive Director, Science and Information, with the Department for Environment and Water (DEW) and has been appointed to the public sector director position on the Board. Ms Carruthers has departmental delegations to support administration of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972. Ms Carruthers has formal qualifications in environmental management, is the Chief Information Officer for DEW, leading both the science group and corporate governance. In addition she is a member of the South Australia Koala Management Steering Committee, which directs koala management across South Australia and her current external board memberships include the Environment Institute (University of Adelaide); Arid Recovery and the Goyder Institute for Water Research. She was also a member of the IKCE Advisory Board and will provide continuity and foundation knowledge to the IKCE Board.

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