Louis has joint Ai Group where she will be responsible for its Defence Council, succeeding John O'Callaghan who has retired.
While First Assistant Secretary, Louis established key signature defence industry programs, including the Centre for Defence Industry Capability and the Defence Innovation Hub.
Louis said she is looking forward to working with the industry to help provide the best capabilities to the Australian Defence Force.
"It has been a privilege for me in Defence to meet many small and large businesses, which continue to impress with their capabilities, capacity and determination to support the Australian Defence Force," Louis said.
"I look forward in my new role to working closely with government, Defence and Ai Group members to provide support for the capabilities of Australian industry. This is a transformative time for businesses in Australia and Ai Group will be working with members to help ensure exceptional outcomes across a range of critical policy and Australian industry issues."
Ai Group chief executive Innes Willox said the group was excited to welcome Louis and help achieve strong results for Australian industry.
"We are very pleased to welcome Kate into our team at Ai Group," Willox said.
"It's a critical time for Australian industry with a broad range of opportunities to supply and sustain the substantial upgrades to Australia's defence capabilities that have been announced. We are determined to leverage from these opportunities to build competitive expertise that can yield benefits both domestically and abroad for Australian business and the Australian workforce."
Ai Group represents defence businesses with expertise in systems and platform development, manufacture and through-life support, and facilities construction through to providing base services and support for ADF personnel.
Ai Group's Defence Council said it is pursuing three main goals:
- Recognition of Australian defence industry's major role in supplying equipment to, and support of, the ADF as well as meeting Australia's national security objectives;
- Ensuring that the technological knowledge and innovation of Australian defence companies, including SMEs, is formally recognised by all levels of government and the wider community; and
- Continuing to foster the skills and expertise of Australian defence industry, including for priority industry capabilities and as a source of critical support to the ADF in meeting its many operational responsibilities