Top businesswoman to lead Australia’s national science agency

One of Australia’s most experienced company directors, professional engineer Kathryn Fagg AO, has been appointed Chair of Australia’s national science agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).

Science and Technology Minister Melissa Price said Ms Fagg’s promotion from Deputy Chair to Chair would significantly bolster the board of the CSIRO.

It will mark the first time that three of Australia’s leading science agencies – the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) and the CSIRO – have simultaneously been chaired by women.

Ms Fagg replaces the departing Chair, David Thodey AO, and has been appointed for a five-year term following the end of Mr Thodey’s term on 14 October 2021. 

Ms Fagg has worked in senior executive roles across a range of industries in Australia, New Zealand and Asia.

She was a member of the board of the Reserve Bank of Australia from 2013 to 2018.

Current board member David Knox will take over Ms Fagg’s role as Deputy for a four-year term.

The Hon Ian Macfarlane has been appointed as a new Board member for a three-year term. Mr Macfarlane is a former Minister for Industry and Science.

Announcing the appointments today, Minister Price thanked Mr Thodey for his leadership and said Ms Fagg was well credentialed to assume the role of Chair.

“Kathryn Fagg brings stability and maintains a strong direction for the CSIRO as the agency continues to play a pivotal role in our COVID-19 recovery and as we embrace science and technology to help chart our future prosperity,” Minister Price said.

“As a passionate advocate for gender equity, Ms Fagg is a women in STEM champion and a mentor for young women seeking to pursue a career in science, technology, engineering or mathematics.

“Like me, the new Chair and the other board members are committed to ensuring we use science – and the incredible work of our scientists – to help improve the lives of all Australians.

“I would like to thank David Thodey for his remarkable service and his personal and professional passion for embracing science to solve some of the world’s biggest challenges.”