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.
Board Member Details
John Warn (Chairman)
John Warn is a Partner and Head of Practice for Consumer, Retail & Tourism with Global Executive Search firm Odgers Berndtson. He has worked across the Retail property industry for over 20 years in the Australian and New Zealand markets, and most recently served as Group General Manager for Westfield (Scentre Group). John joined Westfield back in 2010, after serving in the Senior Executive team at David Jones. He has also previously worked in specialty retail with brands such as Virgin and Beach Culture, an airport-based lifestyle retailer, after a short stint in banking and investment banking.
In addition to his executive career, John has been involved in sport his whole life, and was Chairman of Cricket NSW, one of the larger not-for-profit sporting bodies in Australia, holding the Chairman role from early 2013 to June 2018, having been initially appointed to its Board in September 2012. As the youngest ever Chairman in the 140-year history of Cricket NSW, John oversaw a period of significant change and success, winning every possible title for both male and female categories and was awarded the Volunteer Director of the Year in 2014 at the Sports NSW Awards for his contribution to cricket. John also sits on the Board of Mainbrace Constructions as a Non Executive Director.
John is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Managers and Leaders, a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and a Fellow of the Customer Service Institute of Australia. John has also supported various charities, in non executive capacities, including the Happy Days Inc in Cambodia, the SEP Alumni Scholarship Foundation (USA) from 2015-2017 and he also served a brief term on the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Board in 2016.
Russell Balding AO (Deputy Chairman)
Russell Balding is Chairman of Racing NSW, Deputy Chairman of Racing Australia Limited, Deputy Chairman of Destination NSW, and a Director of The Trust Company (Sydney Airport) Limited. Russell also Chairs Destination NSW’s Audit and Risk Committee.
Russell served on the Board of Cabcharge Australia Limited for over five years, including as its Chairman for over two years.
Previously, Mr Balding Chaired the Visitor Economy Taskforce, established by the NSW Government to develop a tourism and events strategy to double overnight visitor expenditure to NSW by 2020. Russell also served on the Board of the former Government tourism body, Tourism NSW.
In June 2011, Russell retired as Chief Executive Officer of the Sydney Airport Corporation after a five year appointment where he oversaw the continued growth and commercial success of Australia’s National Gateway Airport.
Russell is a former Managing Director of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). Prior to joining the ABC, Russell was Director of Finance at the NSW Roads and Traffic Authority.
Russell holds a Diploma in Technology (Commerce) and a Bachelor of Business. Russell is a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, a Fellow of CPA Australia and a past State President of that organisation. Russell was awarded an Order of Australia in January 2007.
David Baffsky AO
David Baffsky is Honorary Chairman (formerly Executive Chairman between 1993 and 2008) of Accor Asia Pacific, the largest hotel management company in the Asia Pacific region. He is Chairman of Ariadne Australia Ltd; a life member of the Tourism Taskforce; and a director of SATS Limited (Singapore).
David is Chairman of Investa Wholesale Funds Management Limited, Chairman of Food & Allied Support Services Corporation Ltd (FASSCO), 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.
Amongst previous roles, David was Chairman of Voyages Indigenous Tourism Limited, Director of the Sydney Olympic Park Authority, Director of the Indigenous Land Corporation and a member of the Business Government Advisory Group on National Security and the Commonwealth Government’s National Tourism Infrastructure Investment Consultative Group.
In 2007, David was appointed to the Commonwealth Government’s Northern Australia Land and Water Taskforce and the Prime Minister’s Community–Business Partnership. In June 2001, David was made an Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia and was awarded the Centenary Medal in 2003. David was recognised as the 2004 Asia Pacific Hotelier of the Year. In 2012 he was awarded the Chevalier (Knight) in the French National Order of the Legion of Honour.
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 Draper was appointed as the Secretary of the NSW Department of Industry on 17 March 2018, following his role as the Deputy Secretary, Economic Policy Group, at the Department of Premier and Cabinet.
Mr Draper who has previously served as a Tribunal Member at the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal, has extensive senior executive management experience in infrastructure and utility companies. He is a former Managing Director of Lumo Energy, Chief Executive Officer of Wellington Airport in New Zealand, General Manager Commercial at Integral Energy and Chief Executive Officer of Northern Territory Airports. Mr Draper has a Bachelor of Economics (Hons) from Sydney University, a Master of Business (Finance) from UTS and has completed the Company Directors Course of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
The Department of Industry 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.
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.
Sally Loane joined the Financial Service Council as Chief Executive Officer in December 2014. Prior to this, Sally had an extensive career in the corporate sector, working at Coca-Cola Amatil from 2006-2014 as the Director of Media and Public Affairs, and in the media industry, where she worked as a journalist for Australia’s major print, radio and television media organisations.
Sally spent several years in the press gallery at Parliament House in Canberra as a journalist, and over five years as a broadcaster for ABC Radio in Sydney where she hosted the Morning program on 702 ABC Sydney. She worked as a journalist, columnist and feature writer for The Australian, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Sun, The Courier-Mail, The Sun Herald and The National Times, and as a reporter on Channel 10.
Sally is a Director of Venues NSW, the Deputy Chair of the Committee for Sydney, Director of Waratahs Rugby, Governor of the Cerebral Palsy Foundation, and a member of the Salvation Army’s Media Advisory Board. She also chaired the Salvation Army’s Sydney East Doorknock Appeal from 2008-2011.
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.
The Hon. George Souris AM
George Souris is a highly experienced former NSW Minister responsible for a wide range of portfolios, including Tourism and Major Events, and the management of large government departments. George retired from NSW Parliament in 2015 after 27 years of elected representation from the Upper Hunter of NSW.
In his former capacity as Minister for Tourism, Major Events, Hospitality and Racing, George was responsible for creating Destination NSW and establishing the Visitor Economy Taskforce. George was also charged with developing a strategy to double overnight visitor expenditure to NSW by 2020. The strategy, the NSW Visitor Economy Industry Action Plan is still being implemented by the current Government.
George is the President of the State Library of NSW and was appointed to the Board of Racing NSW in December 2017. He was made a Member of the Order of Australia in June 2016 in recognition for his service to the Upper Hunter.
Beforehand, George was a partner in the accountancy practice Hudson Souris & Co in Singleton and as an economics subject head at the Shore School in North Sydney.