Boeing has confirmed the appointment of Dr Brendan Nelson AO as the next president of Boeing Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific – replacing Maureen Dougherty, who has served as the company’s president for the Oceania region since 2014.
Effective 11 February, Dr Nelson will become chairman of the board for Boeing Australia Holdings and the company’s senior leader for its 3,800 employees working across commercial airplane manufacturing, defence systems, services, research and development, and autonomous systems.
Dr Nelson will also execute the company’s strategy for community engagement, focusing on STEM and veteran outreach efforts.
Sir Michael Arthur, president of Boeing International, welcomed the appointment of Dr Nelson: "Boeing is proud to have Brendan join our team after his many years of outstanding public and private sector service.
"His proven ability to understand and manage complex situations – first as a medical doctor, later as a government leader and diplomat – will be put to good use as he leads Boeing Australia, the company’s largest presence outside the US and home to a large engineering and technical staff. Brendan takes up the mantle from Maureen Dougherty, who has done a superb job over the past six years leading our regional efforts, growing our relationships with customers and other stakeholders, and ensuring that Boeing in Australia thrives for many years ahead."
Most recently, Dr Nelson served as the director of the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. He began his career in 1985 as a medical practitioner before going on to lead the Australian Medical Association (AMA).
In 1996, he was elected to the Federal Parliament of Australia where he went on to serve five years as minister for education, science and training followed by two years as minister for defence. He was elected leader of Australia’s Liberal Party in 2007 and led the opposition until 2008.
Dr Nelson later served as Australia’s ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg, the European Union and NATO until 2012.
"It is an honour to join a global company like Boeing whose proud legacy here in Australia dates back more than 90 years to the earliest days of Australian aircraft manufacturing. Today, Boeing Australia employees are working across the country in high-tech jobs that help define and deliver the future of aviation and defence – not just for Australian customers but for the world," Dr Nelson said.
Dr Nelson’s honours include being appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in January 2016 for his services to the community, the Parliament of Australia, diplomacy and cultural leadership.
In 2018, the Returned and Services League (RSL) conferred Honorary Life Membership upon Dr Nelson for his services to and support of veterans and ex-service organisations. In 1995, he was awarded the AMA’s highest honour, the Gold Medal, for distinguished service to medicine and humanity.
A graduate of Flinders University in South Australia with a degree in medicine and surgery, Dr Nelson since then has received three honorary doctorates from Flinders University, the Australian National University and the University of South Australia. Dr Nelson will be based in Sydney.