Former Lockheed Martin ANZ CEO, Rear Admiral (Ret'd) Raydon Gates said all three new board members – himself, Air Vice Marshal (Ret'd) Margaret Staib and Air Vice Marshal (Ret'd) Mark Skidmore – would be offering their own unique insights.
“We have QinetiQ Australia and Greg Barsby has been doing a great job as the managing director, but he needs a little support back from the Australian perspective that we can feed back to the UK masters, if you will,” Gates said. “[Along the lines of] this is how it's done in Australia, and we've all got that experience.”
In addition, Gates said, the three could help provide the UK parent company with current data.
Gates also noted that the local information would be invaluable where it concerned government policy, such as “the Defence Industry Policy or the integrated plan or, coming up soon the Export Plan, hopefully by the end of the year”.
“This is what they're trying to achieve by that, this is what they mean by this document,” said Gates. “And it might not be so clear to internationals, so we bring that sort of skillset.”
Skidmore, however, placed the emphasis more on helping and strategy.
“Providing that strategic insight,” he explained. “This is the type of thing we've all done in our military career; planning and strategising, so I think we bring that along to the table as well.”
“Very much from our collective experience, a deep understanding of one of the prime customers, which is Defence,” suggested Staib, adding that all three could draw on a sound understanding of how Defence works, what the associated needs and challengers are.
“And, I think we act as translators sometimes,” she said. “It's also understanding who the decision makers are. Defence is a very, very large beast. I often get ‘defence said this’. 'Well, who in Defence?'”
Staib said she and her fellow new board members would be eminently placed to help navigate through this bureaucracy.
“Talking about what the customer wants and understanding the connection between, for example, the Defence White Paper and what that means for the country going forward and how it can contribute to that piece of work,” she said.