Future retirement of CEO of Grattan Institute Prof John Daley

The Hon Alex Chernov AC QC

The Chair of Grattan Institute, The Hon Alex Chernov, announced today that its inaugural CEO, Prof John Daley, would be stepping down when his contract finishes in July 2020. He said that ‘since John opened the doors in 2009, he has steered Grattan to become Australia’s leading domestic policy think tank, and a household name’. Its seven programs now cover a wide range of policy issues, from energy to health, education, budgets, tax, transport, and housing.

Under John’s leadership, Grattan has shaped debates and subsequent policy reforms on a broad range of public policy issues such as school funding, the costs of superannuation, and electricity pricing, and its ideas have been picked up by all sides of politics. A review published this year traced the enormous impact of more than 115 reports published so far.

Grattan’s work has a reputation for independent, rigorous, and practical analysis of public policy issues that facilitates better-informed discussions among decision makers and the public. Its ‘Orange books‘, for example, have become much used by public servants and journalists in preparing and assessing State and Federal election policy agendas.

The Chair emphasised that, ‘John has nurtured Grattan’s distinctive culture, which promotes both vigorous internal debate and passionate cooperation towards achieving Grattan’s outstanding results’. As a result, Grattan has become a magnet for talented policy analysts, and its alumni now hold a series of important roles in government and other bodies involved in public policy.

The Chair of Grattan Institute’s Public Policy Committee and Board Member, Dr Ian Watt AC, former Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, reflected that ‘John has moulded Grattan’s unique brand in Australia for penetrating original analysis that is clearly communicated and sharply outlines the policies that government should adopt. Many hold up its work as an exemplar of high-quality policy analysis on complex issues.’

As well as leading Grattan’s overall program, John has personally authored a number of significant reports. Game Changers (2012), for example, identified the key priorities for economic reform, and has influenced governments for several years. John has also written leading reports on budget reform, intergenerational inequality, tax reform, housing affordability, and retirement incomes.

John said that ‘after 11 years, the long-term growth of Grattan Institute as an institution requires new leadership and it is time for the Board to identify and put in place a new CEO who can take Grattan onto the next stage. The greatest legacy of a CEO is not what is achieved while you are there, but how you set up the organisation to develop afterwards. So far I have been a lawyer, a policy adviser, an academic, a management consultant, a banker, a stockbroker, and the founding CEO of Australia’s leading domestic policy think tank, and I am looking forward to what comes next.’

Alex Chernov said that the Grattan Board had enjoyed working with John and, on his departure, will miss his rigorous and practical contributions to Board discussion. John will leave Grattan with the thanks and best wishes of the Board and all at the Institute. The Board has begun the search for a new CEO with assistance from Egon Zehnder.

The Hon Alex Chernov AC QC

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