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Philanthropy Australia Appoints New CEO


Wednesday, 1st April 2015 at 12:35 pm
Xavier Smerdon
Philanthropy Australia has appointed Sarah Davies as CEO of the organisation following the departure of Louise Walsh.

Wednesday, 1st April 2015
at 12:35 pm
Xavier Smerdon


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Philanthropy Australia Appoints New CEO
Wednesday, 1st April 2015 at 12:35 pm

Philanthropy Australia has appointed Sarah Davies as CEO of the organisation following the departure of Louise Walsh.

But the current CEO of the high-profile Reach Foundation will not start her new role until the end of November due to commitments at her current organisation.

Chris Wootton will remain Acting CEO of Philanthropy Australia until Davies takes on the top job.

Louise Walsh announced in November 2014 that she would be resigning from the role she had held for two years.

President of Philanthropy Australia, Alan Schwartz, said Davies would bring a lot of experience to the job, having previously been the CEO of the Australian Communities Foundation and currently acting as a Director of Kids Under Cover, a board member of the Centre for Social Impact and a Director of an independent school board.

“The Philanthropy Australia Council and I are pleased to announce that Sarah Davies has accepted the position of CEO at Philanthropy Australia,” Schwartz said.

“Sarah comes to us with significant experience in the philanthropic and Not for Profit sectors, she is a very experienced, respected and well-liked leader and we strongly believe that she is the right person to lead Philanthropy Australia.”

Despite her start date still being eight months away Davies said she was excited to begin her new role.

“I am thrilled to be joining the team at Philanthropy Australia and can’t wait to jump in,” Davies said.

“I know it’s still some months away, but, that doesn’t diminish the excitement I feel about being selected as the new CEO of Philanthropy Australia. I have had much exposure and experience in the philanthropic sector, and I am looking forward to working with the team to promote and support philanthropy.”

Schwartz said Davies would bring her own personal touch to the role of CEO.

“Sarah is a person of great warmth and integrity who inspires those she works with and looks to build a unified sense of purpose in her team. She will focus on continuing to develop the service culture within the organisation, focused on innovation and building strong and effective relationships with our membership and other stakeholders,” he said.

“As a commercially astute CEO with significant experience driving strategies for long term growth and sustainability, Sarah demonstrates the qualities that are essential for driving the success of Philanthropy Australia.

“We have every confidence in Chris Wootton’s ability to lead the team for as long as is needed, and to work with Council to guide the organisation through the strategic planning process.

“To ensure that Sarah is deeply engaged with the outcomes of our current strategic planning process, she has agreed to act as a consultant to the process on a needs basis. We thank the Board of Reach for their flexibility and understanding during the transition.”

In November last year Louise Walsh issued a statement saying she was confident about the future of Philanthropy Australia.

“I have loved my time at Philanthropy Australia. I think we have proved to be a new catalyst for ongoing change in Australia’s landscape in philanthropy and the way we think about supporting and partnering with remarkable causes,” Walsh said.

“I leave the organisation in good shape, having put in place all the objectives I set out to achieve when I took the role. It’s time for me to take a break and consider where next to apply my energies.”

Schwartz told Pro Bono Australia News at the time that as part of its discussions about the role of CEO and in light of funding restraints and Philanthropy Australia’s future operating requirements, the Council had decided to restructure the executive of Philanthropy Australia and that the role of Deputy CEO would be removed.

“This will mean that there will no longer be a Deputy CEO role and as a result of these changes Anna Draffin our Deputy CEO will be leaving the organisation,” he said.

“In discussions with Louise, the Board explained that despite a healthy profit last year there was an unsustainable cost structure around the deputy position.”


Xavier Smerdon  |  Journalist  |  @XavierSmerdon

Xavier Smerdon is a journalist specialising in the Not for Profit sector. He writes breaking and investigative news articles.


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