Destination NSW is a statutory authority and 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 Director-General of Department of Trade and Investment, Regional Infrastructure and Services (DTIRIS).
Board Member Details
John Hartigan (Chairman)
John Hartigan was appointed as Chairman of Destination NSW in March 2014. 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.
Among his external board and community responsibilities Mr Hartigan is a Director of The Bradman Foundation and is a Trustee of the Sydney Cricket and Sports Ground Trust.
Russell Balding AO (Deputy Chairman)
Russell Balding is Chairman of the Visitor Economy Taskforce established by the NSW Government to develop a tourism and events strategy to double visitor expenditure to NSW. Mr Balding is also a Non-Executive Director of Cabcharge Australia Limited and recently retired as Chief Executive Officer of the Sydney Airport Corporation. He is 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 director and life member of the Tourism Task Force; a director of SATS Limited (Singapore) and Sydney Olympic Park Authority. Mr Baffsky is Chairman of Investa Funds Management Limited and Chairman of Food & Allied Support Services Corporation Ltd and a trustee of the Art Gallery of NSW. Mr Baffsky was formerly a director of the Indigenous Land Corporation and Chairman of Voyages Indigenous Tourism Limited.
In 2014 he was appointed to the board of the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra. 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.
Leslie Cassar AM KSJ MOM
Mr Cassar is a former Chairman of both Tourism NSW and the Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF). He began his career in travel and tourism with Qantas and has now accrued over 40 years experience in the tourism sector, both in Australia and internationally. In 1979, he became CEO and partner of The Concorde Group of Companies, where he oversaw the expansion of the company, the establishment of World Aviation Systems and final sale of the company to ABN AMRO in 2002. The Australian and Maltese Governments have recognised his long service to both countries with prestigious accolades including the Division of The Order of Australia (AM) and the Knight of the Order for St John of Jerusalem. More recently, Mr Cassar was awarded the National Award of Merit by the Maltese Government for his contribution to the country’s aviation industry.
The Hon. Patricia Forsythe
Ms 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 steering committees including NSW Employment Lands Taskforce, NSW 2015 AFC Asian Cup and the Development of Tertiary Sector Degree Pathways. Ms Forsythe also represents the Chamber on the City of Sydney Retail Advisory Panel and the Sydney Airport Planning Coordination Forum. She serves on a number of boards in the Government and Not-For-Profit sector including the Council of Macquarie University, the Hunter Development Corporation, the Hunter Medical Research Institute, Business Events Sydney, the Anglican Board of Mission and Cricket NSW. Patricia is also an Honorary Associate of the Graduate School of Government at Sydney University. Ms Forsythe was a Member of the NSW Legislative Council from 1991 to 2006 when she served a variety of shadow portfolios.
Margaret Jack is an advisor to the Adecco Group and a director of the Adecco joint venture in China. Adecco is a Fortune 500 listed human resource company with over 5000 branches in more than 60 countries. Margaret is fluent in Mandarin and Cantonese, having worked as a Senior Partner at Price Waterhouse China and Hong Kong. She was the Executive Director for Shell China & Hong Kong Group of Companies and was a board member of the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce, the only woman to have been appointed Chairman of the China Committee of the Chamber. Since 2002, Margaret has remained occupied in the energy sector advising Australian and US companies on technology cooperation with China and Chinese companies on investments in Australia. She is currently also the Executive Director of Kinox Ltd. She was a member of the NSW International Education and Research Industry Action Plan Taskforce and a member of the NSW Export and Investment Panel.
Rod McGeoch AO
Mr 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 in 2013 was awarded an Officer of the Order of Australia.
Currently he is Chairman of Vantage Private Equity Growth Limited, Chairman of Mediaworks Limited in New Zealand and BGP Holdings Plc Malta and BGP Investment S.a.r.l Luxembourg. He is a Director of Ramsay Health Care Limited and serves on the Board of Ramsay Generale de Sante in France.
He is Deputy Chairman of the Sydney Cricket & Sports Ground Trust, co-Chairman of the Australian New Zealand Leadership Forum. In January 2013 he was appointed Honorary Consul General of Luxembourg in Australia.
He 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.
Ms Machin is President of the National Roads and Motorists Association. She was the first female National Party member of the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales. She successfully contested three elections from 1985 to 1996. Ms Machin was Chairman of Committees from 1989-93 and served a variety of shadow and ministerial portfolios. She was vice chairman of the Australian Republican Movement in 1998-2000 and was one of its delegates to the Constitutional Convention in 1998. She was President of the Save the Children Fund 1996-2000. In 2005 she was appointed by the Insurance Council of Australia to review their general insurance privacy code. Also, in 2005, she was appointed to the Board of the NRMA and became President in 2008. She was a member of the Migration Review Tribunal. She owns and runs a beef cattle property near Wingham and runs her own consultancy business, Machin Consulting.
Sandra Chipchase is the CEO 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.
Ms Chipchase was previously the Chief Executive Officer of the Melbourne Convention and Visitors Bureau, President - Australian Association of Convention Bureaux (AACB), President - BestCities 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 in Hannover, Germany, Executive Director, Commercial Partnerships and Visitor Services- 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.
Her current roles include: Board Member - Visitor Economy Taskforce, Board Member - Business Events Sydney, member of the Steering Committee for the Sydney International Convention, Exhibition and Entertainment Centre Precinct and member of the NSW Australia Day Council.
In 2010 she was awarded nationally with the Outstanding Contribution to Industry Award from Meetings & Events Australia.