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 AU/NZ retail property industry for over 20 years, holding Senior Group executive roles most recently for Scentre Group (Westfield shopping centres) from 2010 - 2018 after serving in the Senior leadership team at David Jones from 2003-2010. He had previously worked in specialty retail with brands such as Virgin and Beach Culture, a tourism (airport-based) lifestyle retailer, after a short stint in banking and investment banking.
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 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 presently 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, Chairman of Investa Property Group, a board member of Sydney Olympic Park Authority, The George Institute and the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra.
Amongst previous roles, Mr Baffsky 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.
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, commercial leasing and asset management.
Ms Chipchase was previously the Chief Executive Officer of the Melbourne Convention and Visitors Bureau, Executive Director – Australia Pavilion - World EXPO 2000, Executive Director Commercial – Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, GM Marketing – Sydney Convention and Visitors Bureau and she held senior management roles with the Australian Tourist Commission/Tourism Australia in Frankfurt, Chicago and New York.
Sandra has held roles as Chair and President of several international and national industry associations. Her current roles include: Board Member - Business Events Sydney, member of the Steering Committee for the Sydney International Convention, Exhibition and Entertainment Centre Precinct, member of the NSW Australia Day Committee, member of the Theatre Royal Project Steering Committee and member of the Circular Quay Precinct Steering Committee.
Sandra was co-author of the National Business Events Strategy and co-author of the NSW Visitor Economy Taskforce Report 2012 - the tourism and major events blueprint for NSW - that has delivered record results for NSW.
Sandra has been awarded by Sony Music Australia for creativity and innovation and received national recognition winning the National Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Meetings and Events Industry.
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. She was the Group’s representative at the 2014 and 2016 B20 Meetings and representative of the Group at 2019 Summer Davos held in Dalian, China. 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 30 years of experience working in negotiating commercial and technology contracts and running large industrial plants. Margaret established the first Price Waterhouse office in Beijing in 1982 and subsequently was appointed Executive Director for the Shell China and Hong Kong Group of Companies.
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 and Committee for Sydney. 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.
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, Director of Ramsay Health Care Limited, 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 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. He is a former Minister for Finance and Land & Water Conservation. George retired from the Parliament in 2015 after 27 years of elected representation from the Upper Hunter Valley of NSW.
He also 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.
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 and is Chairman of the NSW Mine Safety Council. He was made a Member of the Order of Australia in June 2016.
Beforehand, George was a partner in public practice of an accounting firm in the Hunter Valley where he lives.
Michael Pratt AM
Michael Pratt AM was appointed as the 27th Secretary of NSW Treasury on 1 August 2017. As a result of the Machinery of Government changes announced by the Premier in April 2019, the Treasury Cluster includes NSW Treasury, NSW Small Business Commission, Destination NSW, Western City & Aerotropolis Authority, Jobs for NSW, Procurement NSW, 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.