The Sir Richard Williams Foundation conducts its operations independently and has no political or industry ties.
The Foundation's activities are governed by its Board. The current Board is comprised of 11 former military leaders and security strategists. Members' business affiliations are listed in their biographies. Members are required to absent themselves from any discussion which might create a conflict of interest. The Board welcomes participation from the broad cross-section of the Australian community.
Air Marshal (Retd) Geoff Brown AO
Geoff Brown AO retired from the Royal Australian Air Force in July 2015 as Air Marshal in the position of Chief of Air Force. In a 35-year career, he commanded at all levels in the Air Force and flew Chinook helicopters, F-111s and F/A-18 as well as being a flying instructor and a member of the Roulette Aerobatic team. His operational service included Operation Iraqi Freedom where he was the operational commander for all RAAF assets.
Among his qualifications, he holds a BEng (Mech), a Master of Arts (Strategic Studies), Fellow of the Institute of Engineering Australia and is a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society.
Since leaving the Air Force he has been appointed as a Director of Lockheed Martin (Australia), a Director of Electro Optic Systems, Chairman of the Sir Richard Williams Foundation, Chairman of the Advisory Board of CAE Asia Pacific and Middle East, Director on the Governing Council for the Temora Air Museum and a Director of GCB Stratos Consulting. He also mentors in Leadership and Strategic Studies at the Australian Defence College.
His honours and awards include his appointment as an Officer in the Order of Australia, the United States Legion of Merit and the Meritorious Service Medal from Singapore.
Air Chief Marshal (Retd) Mark Binskin AC
Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin AC (Retd) is a highly respected senior executive and leader in the national security, defence and aerospace sectors. He was Chief of the Defence Force of Australia from 2014-2018, Vice Chief of the Defence Force (2011-2014) and Chief of Air Force (2008-2011). In 2020, he was Chair of the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements.
He is currently Chair of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, Chair of the Pacific Security College Advisory Board, Deputy Chair of the Sir Richard Williams Foundation, on the Boards of the Western Parkland City Authority and Invictus Australia, a member of the Governing Committee of the Temora Aviation Museum and provides strategic advice as a Non-Executive Director with BAE Systems Australia and Nihon Cyber Defence.
As Chief of Defence, Air Chief Marshal Binskin (Retd) successfully led the Australian Defence Force, comprising 80,000 permanent and reserve personnel, to significantly improve capabilities and responses to major global events and championed organisational change across areas of national security, culture, diversity and leadership performance.
Air Chief Marshal Binskin (Retd) has provided national security advice to the highest levels of governments, industry leaders and international stakeholders and his aerospace knowledge and expertise is extensive. He has over 3,500 hours in single seat fighter aircraft including the A-4G Skyhawk, Mirage 111O, F-16C and F/A-18 Hornet, and continues to be active in general aviation.
Air Chief Marshal Binskin (Retd) has completed the Harvard Business School Advanced Management Program, is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society.
Ken had an extensive career in the Australian Public Service with the Department of Defence. His last appointment was as the Defence Chief Finance Officer (Deputy Secretary level). Prior to the CFO position, Ken held a number of other senior management appointments in Defence including Head of National Operations Division that was responsible for the management and delivery of a large range of services to all Defence bases across Australia.
After leaving the APS, Ken worked for a number of years with the ACT Government as the Chief Executive Officer of Rhodium Asset Solutions (the Government’s vehicle leasing company) and Executive Director Shared Services ICT.
Ken holds two appointments:
Independent Chair, Audit Committee, Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions
Board Member and Treasurer Sir Richard Williams Foundation
Ken has tertiary qualifications in economics and accounting. He is a Fellow of CPA Australia and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Ken is also a graduate of the Advanced Management Program at the INSEAD Business School in France and the Senior Defence Resource Management Program at the US Navy Postgraduate School in California.
Nicole Quinn is the principle of Quinntessential GR, a government relations advisory firm based in Canberra. Her current clients include Adecco, Mitsubishi Motors, IKEA, CAE and NEC Australia. She has with over 20 years’ experience in advocacy and stakeholders engagement including working for federal ministers/parliamentarians. Prior to establishing her own firm Nicole was Director of Government Relations for Parker and Partners (part of opr Agency) and headed up the Canberra office. She also provided communication/stakeholder advice for the ATO, Digital Health Agency, Queensland government and DVA. Nicole was the General Manager of the regional security think tank the Institute for Regional Security (previously Kokoda Foundation), National Convenor for Defence Families of Australia and has held communication, marketing and membership roles in both the private and public sector.
Nicole has a BA in Politics, is a board member of the Australian Chiropractors Association, Gift of Life Inc and a member of the Australian Professional Government Relations Association.
Vice Admiral (Rtd) Tim Barrett AO, CSC
Vice Admiral Barrett joined the Royal Australian Navy in 1976 as a Seaman Officer and later specialised in aviation. He assumed command of the Royal Australian Navy on 1 July 2014 and remained in this position until 6 July 2018.
A dual-qualified officer, Vice Admiral Barrett served in Her Majesty's Australian (HMA) Ships Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane and HMS Orkney as a Seaman Officer and then as Flight Commander in HMA Ships Stalwart, Adelaide and Canberra. His staff appointments include Deputy Director Air Warfare Development, Director Naval Officer's Postings and Director General of Defence Force Recruiting.
Vice Admiral Barrett has served as Commanding Officer 817 Squadron, Commanding Officer HMAS Albatross, Commander Australian Navy Aviation Group, Commander Border Protection Command and as Commander Australian Fleet.
Vice Admiral Barrett was awarded a Conspicuous Service Cross in 2006 for outstanding performance as Commanding Officer HMAS Albatross and as Chief of Staff Navy Aviation Force Element Group Headquarters. Vice Admiral Barrett was appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia in 2009 and subsequently promoted to Officer of the Order of Australia in 2014 for his leadership of Border Protection Command and the Australian Fleet.
Vice Admiral Barrett holds a Bachelor of Arts in Politics and History and a Masters of Defence Studies, both from the University of New South Wales, and has completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School. He recently published ‘The Navy and the Nation: Australia's Maritime Power in the 21st Century’ in which he outlines the extensive opportunities for Navy and Australia as steps are taken to implement the planned investment in naval capability outlined in the Defence White Paper 2016 and the National Shipbuilding Plan over the coming decades.
Vice Admiral Barrett and his wife, Jenny, have two daughters.
John retired from the Royal Air Force as a Group Captain in 2010 having served 24 years in a number flying, staff and senior command roles. His experience on the F4 Phantom and Tornado F3 aircraft included Cold War Europe, the South Atlantic, the Balkans, and the Middle East theatres of operation. He commanded the United Kingdom’s largest Permanent Joint Operating Base at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus between 2005 and 2008 enabling the airbridge into Iraq and Afghanistan, and supporting strategic ISR operations in the eastern Mediterranean.
John is the owner and Managing Director of Felix, an independent company providing specialist air domain and intelligence capability development, and creative services to Defence and industry. He was previously a business development executive with Raytheon Australia specialising in air combat integration, electronic warfare, advanced weapons systems, test and training ranges, and integrated air and missile defence.
Ged has almost 40 years’ experience in the commercial, federal government and private sectors in Australia and internationally focused on the Defence Departments’ of Australia and allied nations. He is the Chief of Growth for Raytheon Australia where he has worked for the last 22 years in various senior roles providing advice and leading initiatives on business innovation and strategic transformation. He specialises in influencing strategic intent through the injection of thought leadership initiatives which produce lasting and distinctive security improvements.
Prior to joining Raytheon, Ged worked in the Information Technology sector as a project manager and account executive for a mainframe software company. He served his country in uniform for 15 years as an Army officer specialising in aviation, leadership instruction and major capital equipment acquisition.
Ged is a graduate of the Royal Military College Duntroon and the Australian Defence Force Academy. He has an honours degree in electrical engineering from the University of New South Wales, and a Master’s Degree in Defence Technology from Cranfield University, U.K. He is a Fellow of Engineers Australia, a Chartered Professional Engineer and is on several international and domestic engineering registers.
Emily is a veteran with 25 years’ experience in Defence and Defence Industry. Beginning her career in the RAAF as an electrical engineer, Emily now owns a successful engineering and management specialist consulting company, AeroPM. Under Emily’s leadership, AeroPM has experienced sustained and rapid growth over the last five years and is the recipient of many industry awards, including being a National finalist in the Telstra Awards and listed as a Smart50 SME and AFR Fast 100 company. Emily has been personally recognised as Female Defence Leader of the Year, finalist in the Women in Defence Awards and finalist as the Veteran Entrepreneur of the Year.
Emily proudly supports veteran employment and entrepreneurship and is a Soldier on Ambassador. She is an active member of the Princes Trust Australia Enterprise for Veterans Advisory Council, and UNSW School of Engineering and IT Academic Advisory Board. She is also a Board Director of the Sir Richard Williams Foundation.
Major General (Retd) Fergus "Gus" McLachlan AO
Gus McLachlan completed his 37-year career with the Australian Army in December 2018, retiring as a Major General.
Gus McLachlan has been responsible for generating Australian Defence capability in cyber space, electronic warfare and command and control systems. He completed two years as Head of Army Modernisation, during which time he worked closely with industry to commence a major recapitalisation of Army equipment and to network the systems of the Army.
Gus McLachlan’s military career concluded after he led Land Forces Command where he was responsible for 35,000 women and men of the Army.
He continued his leadership career in the commercial sector with Boral, Australia’s largest construction materials company, where he led Business Performance and Improvement during a major transformation activity.
Gus McLachlan is currently a Senior Adviser at Bondi Partners, a unique advisory firm offering strategic counsel to businesses in Australia and the United States. He is a Director and Strategic Adviser to Australian and US defence, cyber and space technology companies. He is an Adjunct Professor at Monash University where he advises on national security research, and he chairs the Advisory Board for Cyber and Data Security at Charles Sturt University. Gus is also Director of the not-for-profit Williams Foundation, an air and space “Think Tank”.
Gus was made an Officer in the Order or Australia (AO) for his contribution to Army Modernisation and awarded the United States Legion of Merit by Secretary James Mattis for his service in the international coalition force in Afghanistan.
Gus lives in Sydney with his wife Maree and they have two adult sons.
Air Vice-Marshal (Ret’d) Steve Roberton, DSC, AM
‘Zed' is a Category A Fighter Pilot who joined the Royal Australian Air Force after completing a Bachelor of Science at Queensland University. He flew for 26 years of his RAAF career including fighter tours in Australian combat units and an exchange flying F/A-18s with the United States Marine Corps.
AVM Roberton enjoyed five commands in his RAAF career: initially commanding Number 75 Squadron for three years in Australia’s Northern Territory. Roberton led the RAAF’s transition to F/A-18F Super Hornet before commanding Number 82 Wing at RAAF Amberley; for which he was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in 2012. Roberton commanded the inaugural Operation OKRA Air Task Group 630 countering ISIL in 2014, for which he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. He returned to Australia to command Air Combat Group in 2015 and went on to assume the Air Commander Australia role in 2017. AVM Roberton was Head Force Design in VCDF Executive in 2019, delivering the Force Structure Plan 2020 and the ADF Workforce Growth submission to Government.
Zed completed several joint staff tours in project management and capability development roles. His further education includes a Masters in Management from Australian staff college in 2002 and the UK's Higher Command and Staff College in 2012. He completed the Australian Company Director’s Course in 2013 and the Harvard Business School Advanced Management Program in 2022.
Steve is a full-time senior advisor with McKinsey and Company based in Canberra and he is married to Libby.
Katherine Ziesing is the Strategic Communications Manager at Hanwha Defence Australia. In this role, she is integral in supporting the business to mobilise and deliver capability across a range of capabilities.
Prior to this role she was the Strategic Communications Manager at a Canberra based contracting SME, leading client engagement with over 400 member companies working into government.
She was Managing Editor at Australian Defence Magazine Group, working in the company for 15 years. Katherine joined the ADM team in 2006 as a staff writer and was appointed editor in Canberra at the beginning of 2008. She took on the expanded role of Managing Editor of Yaffa Media’s ADM Group at the beginning of 2018. While she has a background in business journalism and economics, she has also completed a Masters of Strategy and Policy at the University of New South Wales at the Australian Defence Force Academy, graduating in 2010. She was a member of the Defence Industry Study Course (DISC) in 2017.
She has served as a committee member of the Submarine Institute of Australia and as a board member for the National Institute of Security Resilience. She was a founding member of the Defence and National Security Media Association, a group of Australia’s leading Defence and National Security journalists.