“The Leadership Council is a small global group of people who help keep MS Research Australia’s strategy contemporary and relevant. They help to identify trends and influences in the Australian and international corporate, political and philanthropic markets.”
BA, MARead More
Chris Benscher was the Manager of Government Affairs at Halliburton from 2011 to October 2015. In this role, Chris managed global government affairs for Halliburton in more than 90 countries.
Prior to this, Chris served as a Congressional Liaison for the Australian Embassy in Washington, promoting Australia’s trade, immigration and energy interests. Before joining the Embassy, Chris participated in fellowships with then-Senator Chuck Hagel and the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, after arriving in the United States in 2001.
MA (Hons) (Edin)Read More
Gordon Cairns is Chairman of Woolworths and Origin Energy, and is a director of Macquarie Group Limited and Macquarie Bank Limited.
Prior to this, Gordon was the Chairman of David Jones Limited and Rebel Group, and was a Director of The Centre for Independent Studies and Westpac Banking Corporation. He has extensive Australian and international experience as former Chief Executive Officer of Lion Nathan Ltd, and has held senior management positions in marketing, operations and finance with PepsiCo, Cadbury Ltd and Nestle.
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Jim Fox is currently Chairman of the Board of Genmark Diagnostics Inc (USA), Independent Lead Director at Biota Pharmaceuticals Inc. (USA), and a director of TTP Group plc (UK) and was a director of Air New Zealand Ltd.
Jim has extensive experience in global technology and healthcare businesses. Previously, Jim led the start-up of Invetech, an Australian contract research and development company that specialises in healthcare products and complex instruments for international markets. Invetech was merged with Australian Securities Exchange listed Vision Systems Limited in 1993, and Jim took over as Group Managing Director of the combined entity. Prior to Invetech, Jim spent seven years working as a consultant and director with PA Technology.
Jim was a member of the MS Research Australia Board for 8 years and has a personal connection to multiple sclerosis, having both a family member and a close friend with MS.
Cassandra Kelly is a co-founder and global Chair of Pottinger, a corporate advisory firm that advises major corporations and governments across most industry sectors, specialising in financial services, retail, property, energy and resources, technology/media/telecommunications, consumer and clean energy in Australia and overseas. She is a non-executive Director of Flight Centre Travel Group Limited, Chair of Allpress International and a board member of the UNSW Foundation. Further, Cassandra is an expert advisor to B20/G20 on matters of innovation, entrepreneurship and infrastructure and continues to provide advice to subsequent Summits, including the Turkish Government in 2015 and China in 2016.
Cassandra has a passion for philanthropic and not for profit organisations. Some of her involvements include representing Thankful as an Ambassador, being an Advisory Board member for The Resolution Project, a past director of Starlight Children’s Foundation and the Children’s Cancer Institute Australia, and a previous Vice President of Women in Banking and Finance.
Previously, Cassandra was the Vice President of GMAC Commercial Holding Asia, a Board member of GMAC Commercial Mortgage Japan and also held executive roles at Deutsche Bank (New York and London); HSBC Investment Bank (London), and McKinsey & Company (Sydney, Johannesburg and London).
Cassandra was recognized in the inaugural Australian Financial Review/Westpac Women of Influence Awards as one of the ten most influential women in boards and management in Australia. Further, Cassandra has been featured in the United States’ Directors & Boards magazine as one of 12 directors to watch.
Lisa Pettigrew is the General Manager for Global Healthcare, leading a team of global healthcare industry strategists based across the United States, United Kingdom and Australia. She focuses on global healthcare and life sciences market development and growth, industry trends, expanding CSC’s market reach, and innovative strategic partnerships and thought leadership in all geographies.
Lisa is currently a non-executive Director of NeuRA (Neuroscience Research Australia) and the Deputy Chair of the NSW Health Ministerial Advisory Committee and previously she was a non-executive director of the MS Societies in NSW/VIC/ACT.
Lisa has relocated to the United States and now resides in Washington, DC.
MA, MBARead More
David Pumphrey is a partner emeritus with Heidrick & Struggles, a global executive search firm and an adviser to the firm’s Chief Executive Officer and Board of Directors Practices. David is involved with a number of research projects regarding board effectiveness, governance and cultural diversity and is also a visiting Professor at Cranfield School of Management in the UK.
Previously, David was a consultant in the London office of McKinsey & Co and in various management roles with other global companies, including managing director of several consumer durables and manufacturing companies in the UK.
David is a past Director of MS Australia and the MS Society of NSW, and a past President of the Harvard Club of Australia. He is an Honorary Life Member and a past Director of the Bell Shakespeare Company and its Foundation.
BEc, Hon. Doc of Bus.Read More
Heather Ridout AO is a company director, with a long history as a leading figure in public policy debate in Australia. Currently, she is the Chair of the AustralianSuper Board, Director of Sims Metal Management, ASX Ltd and I-MED Radiology Network. Other Board involvements include; Australian Chamber Orchestra, Asialink, Advance Australia Advisory Board and the ASIC External Advisory Panel. Heather is also a longstanding member of the American-Australian Leadership Dialogue.
Formerly, she was the Chief Executive of the Australian Industry Group, a major national employer organisation, board member of the Reserve Bank of Australia, member of the Henry Tax Review panel, board member of Infrastructure Australia, Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency, Climate Change Authority, member of the National Workplace Relations Consultative Committee, and the Prime Minister’s Taskforce on Manufacturing. Heather was a delegate to the B20, the key business advisory body to the international economic forum which includes business leaders from all G20 economies. She has family experience of MS.
Vicki Thomson is the Chief Executive of the Group of Eight. She is a Board member of the Australia-China Council and is a member of the Australian Government’s New Colombo Plan Steering Group. She has extensive experience in building relationships between business, industry and universities. Vicki also supports academic and student mobility between Australia and the Indo-Pacific region.
Previously, Vicki was the Executive Director of the Australian Technology Network of Universities (ATN). Her diverse background covers print and electronic journalism, issues management, media, political and policy and extensive experience in the higher education sector.
Vicki was recently named in The Australian Newspaper’s Top 50 most influential people in Higher Education.
AM BE FAICD
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Graham is a founding member of MS Research Australia and has wide management and leadership experience from senior management positions in the global materials and handling business, Nacco Materials Handling Group, in which Graham managed the Asia Pacific division for many years. Graham was also a part owner and director of a small engineering business.
Graham first joined the board of the MS Society of NSW in 1973 and was President for two terms and Vice President and Chairman of the Services Committee for a decade. Following the merger of the MS Societies of NSW and Victoria, Graham became a director of MS Limited for 4 years.
Graham joined the board of MS Australia in 2000 and was National President from 2001 to 2009.
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Vanessa is a non-executive director of Wesfarmers Ltd, is on the Chairman’s Council of the ACO, a member of Chief Executive Women.
Vanessa was a Strategy Management Consultant for 30 years and held multiple governance roles at the highest level. She has extensive experience in areas such as; customer experience, design and channels to market a number of industries. Vanessa has hands on experience in mergers, acquisitions and post-merger integration.
Previously, Vanessa led Booz & Company’s financial services practice in Global Market and was the Executive Chairman of Booz & Company (Japan) Inc. leading the different company strategies.