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 NSW Treasury.
Board Member Details
John Warn (Chairman)
GAICD, FIML, FCSIA, SEP
John Warn was appointed Chairman of Destination NSW in July 2018. He has had an extensive career across executive search, business consulting, sport, tourism and in the AUS/NZ retail property industry spanning over 25 years. He has held senior roles most recently with Odgers Berndtson as Head of Sport, Media & Entertainment, and previously with Scentre Group (Westfield) from 2010 - 2018, after serving in the senior executive team at David Jones. John also previously worked in specialty retail with iconic brands such as Virgin and Beach Culture, a tourism, airport-based, lifestyle retailer, after a short stint in banking (Westpac) and investment banking in the UK.
In addition to his executive career, John has held a number of other non-executive roles. He was appointed as the youngest ever Chairman of Cricket NSW, one of the larger not-for-profit sporting bodies in Australia, holding the Chair role from early 2013 to June 2018, after joining the board in late 2012. John oversaw a period of significant strategic change , transformation and success, winning every possible title for both male and female categories. John also presently sits on the Board of Mainbrace Constructions, and the Bradman Foundation as a Non-Executive Director. In mid 2020, as COVID-19 was unfolding, he was appointed as the NSW Government’s Chair of the NSW Visitor Economy Industry Action Plan 2030 Taskforce, a cross industry group aimed at ensuring NSW built a robust whole of Government Tourism Industry plan with specific economic targets through to 2030.
John completed the well regarded Stanford Executive Program at Stanford University GSB in Silicon Valley in 2015. He is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Managers and Leaders 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)
BBus, DipTech (Comm), FCPA, MAICD
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 and Chairman of Investa Property Group.
Amongst previous roles, Mr Baffsky was a Board Member of Sydney Olympic Park Authority, The George Institute and the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra. He was a Trustee of the Art Gallery of NSW, Chairman of Voyages Indigenous Tourism Ltd and a Director of the Indigenous Land Corporation. He was a Director of SATS Limited (Singapore) and Chairman of FASSCO International (Australia) Pty Ltd. He was a member of the Business Government Advisory Group on National Security and the Commonwealth Government’s National Tourism Infrastructure Investment Consultative Group.
David is a life member of the Tourism Taskforce.
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.
Margaret Jack AM
Margaret Jack is currently China Strategic Advisor to the Board of Directors of Adecco Group AG headquartered in Zurich. Adecco is the largest human resources company in the world and consistently maintains its position as the number one HR company in the Global Fortune 500 list. In China, Margaret is on the Board of the FESCO Adecco joint venture.
She was the Group’s representative at the 2014 B20 and 2016 B20 Meetings and Group representative of 2019 Summer Davos.
Margaret was on the Board of DFAT’s Australia China Council from 2016 to 2019.
In the 2019 Queen’s Birthday Honours list, Margaret was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia with the citation “For significant service to the resources sector, and to Australia-China relations”.
Margaret is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Australia and New Zealand. She has over 30 years’ experience working in negotiating commercial and technology contracts and developing large industrial plants. Margaret established the first Price Waterhouse office in Beijing in 1982 and was subsequently appointed Executive Director of the Shell China and Hong Kong Group of Companies.
BA (English, Politics, Journalism)
Sally Loane joined the Financial Services Council as Chief Executive Officer in December 2014.
Prior to this Sally had a decade in the corporate sector, working at Coca-Cola Amatil as a senior executive. Her first career was in the media, where she spent 25 years as a broadcaster and journalist across radio, television and print. Sally is also a published author.
Sally is a Director of Venues NSW, Destination NSW, the Avner Pancreatic Cancer Research Foundation. Sally is also a Governor of the Cerebral Palsy Research Foundation, Ambassador for Business Events Sydney and a member of Chief Executive Women.
Sally was the first female Director of Waratahs Rugby and served on the Board for seven years. She was a Director of SCEGGS Darlinghurst for 12 years and chaired the Salvation Army’s Sydney East Doorknock Appeal from 2008-2011 and was a Co-Deputy Chair for the Committee for Sydney.
Rod McGeoch AO
Rod McGeoch was the leader of Sydney’s successful Olympics 2000 bid. He is an Officer of the Order of Australia. He is also Chairman of BGP Holdings Plc, Chairman of Vantage Private Equity Growth Limited, Chairman of Chubb Insurance Australia Ltd, Director of Corporacion America International S.A.R.L., Director South Cone Foundation and Deputy Chairman 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 was also President of the Law Society of New South Wales and Director of Ramsay Health Care Limited. He has published two best-selling books: McGeoch and The Bid.
The Hon. George Souris AM
BEc, Dip Fin Mangt, FAIM, FCPA
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. He is a former Minister for Finance and was responsible for the State’s privatisation agenda, including the Government Insurance Office by public float, the State’s Southern irrigation districts, and Land & Water Conservation.
George retired from the NSW Parliament in 2015 after 27 years of elected Parliamentary representation from the Upper Hunter Valley of NSW. He was Parliamentary Leader of the National Party. Prior to entering Parliament he served seven years as an elected Councillor of Singleton Shire Council and was its Deputy President.
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, continues to be implemented by the current Government. He was responsible for the government’s liquor and gaming regulation and was previously responsible for the NSW TAB and for creating the current form of Racing NSW.
George is the President of the State Library Council of NSW and is a Director of the Board of Racing NSW. He is a Director of the Board of Business Events Sydney Ltd as Destination NSW’s representative and is Chairman of the NSW Mine Safety Council. He was made a Member of the Order of Australia in June 2016.
He serves the Australian Rugby Foundation, the Australian Film Institute and the Sir Earle Page Memorial Trust.
Beforehand entering Parliament, George was a partner in public practice of an accounting firm in the Hunter Valley where he lives.
Rebekah’s track record, experience and her reputation for strategic insight and entrepreneurial vision have helped shape a globally successful career in the digital and emerging media arenas. Rebekah has a deep understanding and experience of delivering significant transformation projects to improve the customer experience as a path to improving commercial outcomes via digital platform delivery.
Rebekah currently holds the role of Country Director Software and Services, Apple.
Rebekah held the role as Chief Digital and Data Officer for the National Rugby League where Rebekah launched the digital division of the NRL and the extraordinarily successful digital network nrl.com a whole of game digital distribution model focussed on delivering the game, players, clubs and fans an unparalleled sporting experience in the Australian market. Rebekah is a fan of most sports and is particularly passionate about the role of sports in regional communities. Rebekah is a proud South Sydney Rugby League Football Club supporter.
Prior the NRL Rebekah was the Chief Digital Officer for Network Ten and created the video streaming platform TENplay, delivering the first in market catch up TV platform in Australia which delivered innovative new ways for consumers to watch TV anywhere, anytime. This video network established new revenue generation models, strategically building the network’s digital audience and revenue share.
Rebekah was the founding CEO of the US e commerce start up TopFloor.com. Established in Los Angeles by Brian Lee and funded by Google Ventures, Polaris and Science-Inc, TopFloor was an early social commerce platform that delivered content driven sales events into social streams including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube.
Rebekah’s career first rose to prominence in 2006 as Managing Director AU/NZ for Fox Interactive Media before expanding her responsibilities and moving to London as Managing Director, International. Rebekah was a driving force within the global enterprise, building teams and managing 26 territories and launching major new initiatives as well as contributing to JVs in China with IDG and in Japan with Softbank.
In 2011, with the backing of Mark Carnegie, Rebekah established Inception Digital a sales representation, social and content agency and she held a role as a non-executive Director of the company.
In the same year Rebekah worked as Chief Digital Officer with DMG Radio and developed the organisation’s digital strategy. This included producing new core technology online and on mobile for Smooth FM and Nova. Rebekah established two key JV’s for DMG in Australia, with music streaming platform RDIO as well as a location based offers platform Shoppernova.
Rebekah continues to draw on her wealth of commercial, marketing, content and business development acumen across all digital platforms and experience garnered in earlier roles at Optus, EMI and Warner Music.
While at Optus Rebekah delivered innovative projects such as MTV Music Store and Live TV streaming over handsets with partners such as EPL, MTV and ABC. These content initiatives were delivered at the time of commoditisation of voice revenues and provided significant new income streams, customer acquisition and retention value.
Rebekah’s successes have stemmed from a prescient recognition of the value and potential of changing consumer behaviours and expectations, new technologies, identifying possibilities that can be fulfilled as innovative digital distribution models for content and commerce.
In 2015 Rebekah completed the Directors Course through the AICD and has held multiple Board roles including non-executive Director roles at GXL Limited and Oasis.com. Rebekah also held the role as Chairman of e commerce platform Our Deal.
Rebekah has also held Digital Advisory roles at the National Museum of Australia and Australian Sports Commission.
Rebekah holds a Bachelor of Business and is finalising a Masters in Technology from UNSW.
Michael Pratt AM
Michael Pratt AM was appointed as the 27th Secretary of NSW Treasury on 1 August 2017. The Treasury Cluster includes NSW Treasury, NSW Small Business Commission, Destination NSW, Western City & Aerotropolis Authority, NSW Procurement, NSW Treasury Corporation, iCare (Insurance & Care NSW) and SAS Trustee Corporation.
As Secretary, Michael is responsible for strategic management of the entirety of the State’s finances, budget, assets, liabilities and financial risk management framework and transformation.
Prior to his role with Treasury, Michael was the NSW Customer Service Commissioner, where he revolutionised the way the Government delivers services - putting the people of NSW at the heart of service delivery in the establishment of Service NSW. He led major service reform across the NSW Government, chairing the NSW Customer Advisory Board - the responsible governance entity for the delivery of State Government services to the citizens of NSW.
Michael Pratt was honoured as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the Queen’s Birthday 2016 Honours List. Michael was recognised as a role model for Australian society for providing significant service to public administration through reforms in customer service and communication and to the finance and banking industry. Michael was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters in April 2018 from Western Sydney University for his services to the University and to the wider community.
Prior to his role as Customer Service Commissioner Michael was CEO of Consumer and SME Banking, North East Asia, with Standard Chartered Bank. He is a former President of the Australian Institute of Banking & Finance and was the inaugural Joint President of Finsia. Michael’s previous roles also include senior executive positions as Group Executive of Westpac Business & Consumer Banking, CEO of National Australia Bank in Australia, CEO of Bank of New Zealand and CEO of Bank of Melbourne. Michael was also Deputy Chancellor of Western Sydney University.
Prior directorships include Non-Executive Director roles at TAL Dai-ichi Life Australia and Credit Union Australia where he chaired their respective risk committees, Deputy Chair of iCare, MasterCard International Inc New York, MasterCard Asia Pacific, BT Financial Services, Chairman of Bennelong Funds Management, Chairman of Shenzen Credit Corporation and Executive Director of Standard Chartered Bank Hong Kong and China.
Steve Cox is the Chief Executive Officer of Destination NSW, the state’s tourism and major events agency and the owner, manager and producer of Vivid Sydney.
Prior to joining Destination NSW in May 2020, Steve was the Managing Director of Dymocks Retail for eight years where he launched several high-growth business channels for the company. Before serving Dymocks, Steve held senior roles in the fashion sector with David Jones and the Specialty Fashion Group. Steve holds an MBA with Macquarie University – Graduate School of Management and was a member of the Business Advisory Council for Greenfleet, a leading environmental not-for-profit organisation.
As a passionate and energetic champion for Sydney and regional NSW, Steve’s focus is spearheading the strategic direction of Destination NSW including the review of the Visitor Economy Industry Action Plan 2030 to ensure NSW is the world’s most successful tourism and events destination.