Black Swan State Theatre Company is pleased to announce the appointment of Sam Walsh, Chief executive of Iron Ore – Rio Tinto as the Company’s new Board Chairman.

Sam Walsh has been the Chief executive of Iron Ore - Rio Tinto since 2004 and before that was the Chief executive of Rio Tinto’s aluminium business between 2001 and 2004. Before joining Rio Tinto in 1991, he spent 20 years in the automotive industry at General Motors and Nissan Australia. In 2001, he was honoured as an Australian Export Hero and Western Australian Citizen of the Year – Industry & Commerce. He is a Director of West Australian Newspapers and the Committee for Perth; and the Chair of WA Chapter of the Australia Business Arts Foundation.

Sam Walsh said, “I am delighted to lead Black Swan’s Board at this exciting time in its history. Artistic Director Kate Cherry has already had a significant impact on setting new artistic and production standards. She brings extensive relationships with other state theatre companies and artists nationally that will provide new opportunities for Western Australian audiences and artists to engage with world class theatre.

Western Australian audiences deserve to see the very best of international, national and Western Australian theatre. The new State Theatre Centre will provide a home for Black Swan in 2010 as it becomes the resident company within the Centre in Northbridge. I look forward to making a contribution to the Company’s success over the next few years.”

In addition, Duncan Ord has been appointed as a Deputy Chair, and Prof. Alan Robson AM has joined the Board as a Director. Sam Walsh, Duncan Ord and Prof. Alan Robson join recent Board appointees Andrew Drayton, who has been appointed as a second Deputy Chair, and Vicki Robinson. The expanded Board will lead Black Swan in the next stage of its growth as Western Australia’s State Theatre Company resident in the new State Theatre Centre of Western Australia.

Duncan Ord is an Executive Director of the WA Department of State Development, and has been a senior public servant for the past seven years. Before that, he spent 30 years in the arts and tertiary sectors including eight years at the WA Academy of Performing Arts and four years as General Manager of Black Swan Theatre Company.

Prof. Alan Robson has been the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Western Australia since 2004 and currently is the Hackett Professor of Agriculture. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering and was awarded the Australian Medal of Agriculture Science and is a Member of the Order of Australia.

Andrew Drayton is Rio Tinto’s General Manager Procurement for Western Australia. He is a graduate of the Royal Military College, Duntroon, serving as an officer in the Australian Regular Army for 15 years. Since leaving the defence forces, he has worked in line management and consulting roles with companies including Booz-Allen and Hamilton, Kellogg Brown and Root, and Rio Tinto.

Vicky Robinson is currently on maternity leave from her role as General Manager of Energy Generation Pty Ltd, owned by Wesfarmers Limited. She previously held roles as Legal Counsel with Wesfarmers Limited and as Senior Associate with Clayton Utz.

Kate Cherry said, “Sam Walsh has already gained national recognition as a committed and passionate supporter of the Arts. Black Swan State Theatre Company is highly honoured that he has agreed to be the Company’s new Chairman. I look forward to working with Sam to ensure that Black Swan truly becomes an exciting and accessible State Theatre Company for all Western Australians, creating theatre of the highest standards.”

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