Former Telstra CEO David Thodey to chair CSIRO

Thodey hired because of his experience building business networks, government says

David Thodey.

David Thodey.

Former Telstra CEO David Thodey will chair the CSIRO’s board for the next five years, the government has announced.

Telstra revealed in February that Thodey would retire.

Thodey was CEO of the telco from May 2009 until the end of April 2015. His replacement, Andrew Penn, began his new role in May this year.

Thodey's role on the CSIRO board begins in November. Dr Eileen Doyle is currently acting chairperson of the board.

Minister for Industry and Science Ian Macfarlane said Thodey will bring a wealth of industry acumen to Australia’s peak science agency as it plays an increasingly central role in maximising economic opportunities and industry growth.

“Thodey’s experience in building business networks will be valuable to CSIRO as it implements its new 2020 strategy,” the minister said in a statement.

The strategy is designed to boost Australia’s innovation performance and help the country respond to global changes and digital disruption.

According to Macfarlane, CSIRO will work with industry growth centres, the refocussed CRC programme and the Australian government’s entrepreneurs’ programme to ensure an industry network that delivers outcomes for businesses such as creating new jobs, sourcing new investments, linking with researchers or reaching into global markets.

Thodey said he hopes the CSIRO can be a catalyst for innovation across key focus industries and the wider community.

“We must make sure that Australia remains a global leader in the areas of science, research and industry innovation,” Thodey said.

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