Our Board

11 October 2011

Destination NSW is governed by an independent chairman and a Board of Management.

The Minister directs Destination NSW in accordance with the Destination NSW Act 2011 and the NSW Government is represented on the Board by the Secretary of the NSW Department of Industry Secretary.

Board Member Details

John Hartigan (Chairman)

John Hartigan was appointed as Chairman of Destination NSW in March 2014. He is also Chairman of the Prime Media Group.

With more than four decades in the media industry, Mr Hartigan previously headed the Australian operations of News Corporation as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of News Limited. Mr Hartigan is a former Director of News Limited and its subsidiary companies, Queensland Press, Advertiser Newspapers and The Herald and Weekly Times Limited; a former Director of FOXTEL and a former Chairman of the Australian News Channel, which owns and operates Sky News.

Mr Hartigan has been an advisor to the Australian Government, sat on the Independent Steering Committee for the Australia 2020 Summit and co-chaired The Future of Australian Governance stream at that conference. In addition, he was appointed to a new business advisory group to advise the Australian Government on new workplace legislation. He has worked in advisory positions for the American Australian Association and the NSW Export and Investment Advisory Board. Mr Hartigan has recently been appointed a Director of the Australian Paralympic Committee.

Among his external board and community responsibilities Mr Hartigan is a Trustee of the Sydney Cricket and Sports Ground Trust and is a former Director and Lifetime Member of The Bradman Foundation. Mr Hartigan is also an Ambassador of the Indigenous Marathon Project and the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation.

Russell Balding AO (Deputy Chairman)

Russell Balding previously chaired the Visitor Economy Taskforce (2011-2012), established by the NSW Government to develop a tourism and events strategy to double overnight visitor expenditure to NSW. Mr Balding is currently Deputy Chairman of Racing NSW, a Board Director of the Trust Company (Sydney Airport) Limited, a Board Director of CityFleet Networks Ltd (UK) and a Board Director of ComfortDelgro Cabcharge Pty Ltd.

Mr Balding is a former Chairman of Cabcharge Australia Limited, a former Chief Executive Officer of the Sydney Airport Corporation, a former Managing Director of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and was its Director, Funding, Finance and Support Services.

Prior to joining the ABC, he was Director of Finance at the NSW Roads and Traffic Authority and Financial Controller at the NSW Department of Housing.

David Baffsky AO

David Baffsky is Honorary Chairman (formerly Executive Chairman between 1993 and 2008) of Accor Asia Pacific, which is the largest hotel management company in the Asia Pacific region. He is Chairman of Ariadne Australia Ltd; a life member of the Tourism Task Force; and a director of SATS Limited (Singapore).

Mr Baffsky is Chairman of Investa Wholesale Funds Management Limited, Chairman of Food & Allied Support Services Corporation Ltd, Director of FASSCO International (Australia) Pty Ltd, Director of Executive Health Solutions, Board Director of the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, and an external member of Sydney Modern Development Committee of the Art Gallery of NSW.

Mr Baffsky was formerly a director of the Sydney Olympic Park Authority, Indigenous Land Corporation and Chairman of Voyages Indigenous Tourism Limited. In 2004, Mr Baffsky was appointed to the Federal Government’s National Tourism Infrastructure Investment Consultative Group and the Business–Government Advisory Group on National Security.

In 2007, he was appointed to the Federal Government’s Northern Australia Land and Water Taskforce and the Prime Minister’s Community–Business Partnership. In June 2001, he was made an officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia. Mr Baffsky was awarded the Centenary Medal in 2003 and was the 2004 Asia Pacific Hotelier of the Year. In 2012 he was awarded the Chevalier in the Order of the National Legion of Honneur.

The Hon. Patricia Forsythe

Patricia Forsythe is the Executive Director of the Sydney Business Chamber, a position she has held since September 2006. Patricia represents the Chamber on a number of NSW Government committees and also represents the Chamber on the City of Sydney Retail Advisory Panel and the Sydney Airport Planning Coordination Forum.

Ms Forsythe serves on a number of boards in the Government and Not-For-Profit sector including the Council of Macquarie University, Port Authority of NSW, Board of Studies Teaching & Educational Standards NSW and Cricket NSW. Ms Forsythe represents Destination NSW on the Board of Business Events Sydney. Ms Forsythe was a Member of the NSW Legislative Council from 1991 to 2006 where she served in a variety of shadow portfolios.

Margaret Jack

Margaret Jack is President of the China Advisory Board of the Adecco Group and was the Group’s representative at the 2014 and 2016 B20 Meetings. Margaret serves concurrently on the board of Ramsay International Holdings (Asia) Pty Limited. In November 2016 Margaret was appointed to the Board of the Australia China Council. From 2011 to 2013, Margaret was member of the NSW International Education and Research Panel and in 2013 was appointed a member of the NSW Export and Investment Advisory Panel.

Margaret is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Australia. She has over 35 years of experience working with Chinese industry and commerce. In 1982, she established the PriceWaterhouse practice in China and subsequently was appointed executive director for the Shell China and Hong Kong Group of Companies.

Rod McGeoch AO

Rod McGeoch was the leader of Sydney’s successful Olympics 2000 bid. He is a past-President of the Law Society of New South Wales and an Officer of the Order of Australia. He is also Chairman of BGP Holdings Plc, Chairman BGP Investments S.a.r.l., Director of Ramsay Health Care Limited, Chairman of Vantage Private Equity Growth Limited, a member of the advisory board of Salvation Army Eastern Territories and a Trustee of the Sydney Cricket & Sports Ground Trust.

Mr McGeoch is a former Chairman of the Committee for Sydney and plays a leading role in a variety of cultural, community and welfare organisations. He has published two best-selling books: McGeoch and The Bid.

Wendy Machin

Wendy Machin is a non-executive Director and has served on several Boards over the past 15 years in the government, not-for-profit and private sector. She is currently a Director of the NRMA, and was a former President. She was recently appointed as Chair of ANCAP (Australasian New Car Assessment Program), Independent Chair of COBA (Customer Owned Banking Association) and Chair of the NSW Government’s Crown Holiday Parks Trust.

Ms Machin was the first woman National Party MP in the NSW Legislative Assembly. Between 1985 and 1996 she served as a Cabinet Minister, Shadow Minister and as Deputy Speaker of the House. She has run her own consulting business and has also worked in-house in a range of companies and industry associations.

Ms Machin was the Deputy Chair of the Australian Republican Movement from 1998 to 2000 and a delegate to the 1999 Constitutional Convention. Ms Machin owns and operates beef cattle properties in the Manning Valley. She has a strong interest in disability services, and is married with three adult children.

Sandra Chipchase

Sandra Chipchase is the Chief Executive Officer of Destination NSW and Executive Producer of Vivid Sydney. Ms Chipchase has had an outstanding career in international and domestic tourism and business events marketing, major events acquisition and management, sponsorship, business and asset management. Her current roles include: Board Member - Visitor Economy Taskforce, Board Member - Business Events Sydney, and Steering Committee Member for the Sydney International Convention, Exhibition and Entertainment Centre Precinct and a member of the NSW Australia Day Committee.

Ms Chipchase was previously the Chief Executive Officer of the Melbourne Convention and Visitors Bureau, President - Australian Association of Convention Bureaux (AACB), President – Best Cities Global Alliance, Member - Tourism and Transport Forum Advisory Board, Board Member - Business Events Council of Australia (BECA), Member - Federal Government’s Business Events Strategy Implementation Group, Member – Federal Government’s Brand Australia Advisory Board and Member of the NSW Crown Holiday Parks Trust.

Her previous roles include: Executive Director – Australia Pavilion - World EXPO 2000, Executive Director – Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, GM Marketing – Sydney Convention and Visitors Bureau and she held senior management roles with Australian Tourist Commission/Tourism Australia in Frankfurt, Chicago and New York.

Simon Smith

Simon Smith was appointed as Secretary of the NSW Department of Industry by the Premier on 1 July 2015. The Department is responsible for vocational education and training, employment and industry policies and programs and a range of regulatory and support functions for primary industries, crown lands, liquor, gaming and racing, tourism and sport.  His public sector roles have focused on the nexus between the economy and the environment, including roles in regulation, policy development and program delivery.

Mr Smith trained as an economist, first joining the NSW Public Sector in 1994. Prior to joining the Public Sector, he had a small business and also worked in the financial services sector.

He is a current member of the boards of Jobs for NSW, the US Studies Centre, and Infrastructure NSW.