Women lead main national science agencies after CSRIO appointment

Company director and chemical engineer Kathryn Fagg has been appointed as the new chair of the national science agency CSIRO.

Kathryn Fagg

Her appointment means that Australia’s three leading science agencies are now headed by women, including the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMSO), which is led by Penny Wensley, and ANSTO, which is chaired by Dr Annabelle Bennett.

Ms Fagg, who was previously serving as CSIRO deputy chair, replaces David Thodey who finished his term on October 14.

She sat on the board of the Reserve Bank between 2013 and 2018 and. is currently chair of the Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA).

Science and technology minister minister Melissa Price said Ms Fagg was a passionate advocate for gender equity and is well credentialed to assume the role of Chair.

“Kathryn Fagg brings stability and maintains a strong direction for the CSIRO as the agency continues to play a pivotal role in our COVID-19 recovery and as we embrace science and technology to help chart our future prosperity,” Ms Price said.

“Ms Fagg is a women in STEM champion and a mentor for young women seeking to pursue a career in science, technology, engineering or mathematics.

She thanked Mr Thodey for his ervice and personal and professional passion for embracing science to solve some of the world’s biggest challenges.

In the not-for-profit sector, Ms Fagg is Inaugural Chair of Watertrust Australia Limited, as well as being a board member of the Grattan Institute, The Myer Foundation and the Champions of Change Coalition. She is a former President of Chief Executive Women (CEW), a former Chair of Parks Victoria and the Melbourne Recital Centre.

Ms Fagg has held senior executive roles in logistics, manufacturing, resources, banking and professional services, including with Linfox, BlueScope Steel and the ANZ Banking Group.

She moved into executive roles after a period as a management consultant with McKinsey, after starting her professional career as a petroleum engineer following a chemical engineering degree.

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