Board of Directors

Opera Australia is a company limited by guarantee. Our governance is the responsibility of our Board of Directors, who are elected by our members. The Board is responsible for the overall strategic direction of the company and its ongoing viability.

David Mortimer AO

Mr Mortimer has over 40 years of corporate finance and commercial experience both as a Chief Finance Officer and Chief Executive Officer of TNT Limited the worldwide transport and logistics group. He was a founding shareholder and Chairman of private equity group Crescent Capital Partners until his retirement in December 2017. He is a director of public and private companies and has interests in property, agriculture and portfolio investments. David was a Fellow of the Senate of the University until November 2017. He continues as Chairman of the investment committee of the University of Sydney. He has chaired several publicly listed companies and government businesses in addition to his current directorships; he continues to serve as chairman and director of not for profit organisations and foundations.

David has a Bachelor of Economics (First Class Honours) from the University of Sydney. He was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2005 for “service to business and commerce through innovation and visionary leadership, as an advisor to government and to the community”.

He joined the board of Opera Australia in January 2013 and was elected Chairman in April 2013.

Philip Bacon AO

Well-regarded art dealer, patron and philanthropist, Philip Bacon established Philip Bacon Galleries, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane in 1974.

In 1978 he became registered as an approved valuer for the Taxation Incentives for the Arts Scheme, now known as the Cultural Gifts Program, joining the Australian Commercial Galleries Association the following year.

The late 1980s saw Mr Bacon as Art Consultant to Expo 1988 and an adviser to the Estate of Lady Trout. In 1990, he was made a consultant and adviser to the Margaret Olley Art Trust, and is now a Trustee. In 1994 he became a member of the Advisory Council, Griffith University — Queensland College of Art. From 1995 to 1996, Mr Bacon was an adviser to the Trustees and Executors of the Johnstone Gallery Estate. He became a Board member of the Brisbane Biennial International Music Festival in 1996, in 1998 he was made a Board member of the Brisbane Festival of which he is now Deputy Chairman.

In 1994 Philip Bacon became a member of the Board of Opera Australia, a position he held until 2010. He was a member of the Council of the National Gallery of Australia from 1996 to 2003 and has been a Trustee of the Gordon Darling Foundation since 2000. He is a Founder / Benefactor of the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation and Perpetual Donor and member of the Board of the Foundation of the National Gallery of Australia. In 2014 he re-joined the board of Opera Australia and is currently Chairman of the Opera Australia Capital Fund.

Philip Bacon was made a Member, Order of Australia in 1999 receiving in the same year a Doctor of Philosophy (honoris causa) from the University of Queensland. In 2002 Mr Bacon received a Doctor of the University from Griffith University, and Doctor of the University from Queensland University of Technology in 2005. In 2009 he was named a ‘Queensland Great’, and also was announced as AbaF Goldman Sachs Philanthropist of the year. In 2012 he was appointed as a Trustee of the Board of the Queensland Art Gallery.

He was named by The Australian in 2012 as one of the 50 most influential people in the arts in Australia.

Brian Benjamin

Brian Benjamin, BEc MBA, has worked in corporate finance for over 30 years, including 14 years with Macquarie Corporate Finance and the balance in his own advisory business. He specialised in mergers, acquisitions and advisory roles in telecoms, mining and infrastructure.

He was instrumental in the establishment and success of Melbourne Chamber Orchestra where he was Executive Chairman for five years. In that role, he initiated and guided the group’s transition to the Melbourne Recital Centre and the appearance there in the year of its opening by the legendary Sir Neville Marriner. He is an active supporter of classical music and musicians in Melbourne.

Mr Benjamin joined the Board of Opera Australia in February 2017.

Jonathan Feder

Mr Feder LLB (Hons)/BSc is a Partner in the Intellectual Property team at K&L Gates. He is a current board member of Melbourne Theatre Company, a role he has held since 2010. Mr Feder has also raised investment funds for numerous theatrical productions which have been presented throughout the world including shows in New York, London and Australia.

Mr Feder joined the Opera Australia Board in February 2017.

Jane Hansen AO

Ms Hansen is a Company Director with more than 25 years investment banking and management experience in London, New York and Australia. Currently Chair and CEO of the Hansen Little Foundation and all associated philanthropic initiatives, Jane was formerly a mergers and acquisitions and corporate finance specialist at Macquarie Bank and First Boston/Credit Suisse.

Jane joined the Board of the Melbourne Theatre Company in February 2015 and is also the inaugural Chair of the theatre company’s Foundation. She is the Deputy Chancellor and a Member of the Council of the University of Melbourne, and sits on the Melbourne University Humanities Foundation and is Deputy Chair of the Believe Campaign. Jane also sits on the Board of the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation and is a Fellow of the University of Melbourne. Previous directorships include the MCG Trust, the State Sport Centres Trust, the federal body of Athletics Australia and the Foundation of the State Library of Victoria.

Jane Hansen holds a Bachelors Degree in Economics from Monash University, a Masters Degree in Finance and Business Administration from Columbia University in New York, and is currently undertaking an Arts Degree majoring in History at Melbourne University.

Jane and her husband Paul Little established the Hansen Little Foundation in 2015 with Ms Hansen in the role of Chair and Chief Executive. The Hansen Little Foundation is a large philanthropic foundation active in the arts, higher education and medical research along with a broad range of smaller initiatives.

Alison Pert

Dr Alison Pert is a lawyer with extensive experience in commercial contracts, litigation, insurance and public international law. Her career has spanned the government, private and academic sectors, both in Australia and overseas.

Alison has worked for the governments of Papua New Guinea and Australia, representing the latter in treaty negotiations. She has worked in private practice and as in-house counsel, and currently lectures in public international law at the University of Sydney.

She is the author of two books and many articles and papers; she also gives media interviews on the issues of public international law arising from current events.

She is a passionate supporter of opera.

Deena Shiff

Deena is the Chairman of the global board of the BAI Communications Group, Chair of the Supervisory Board of Marley Spoon AG, the Chair of the Advisory Board of the Australian Centre on China in the World, and the Chairman of a Co-operative Research Centre in health sciences. She is also a Non-Executive Director on the board of ASX listed Appen Pty Ltd as well as serving on the board of  the government advisory body, Infrastructure Australia. Deena is on the Member Council of Musica Viva and was until February 2018 the Chair of the Sydney Writers’ Festival.

Deena was previously a Group Managing Director at Telstra, establishing and running Telstra Wholesale and then Telstra Business. In 2011, Deena established Telstra’s corporate venture capital arm, Telstra Ventures. Deena has also been a partner at Mallesons Stephen Jacques.

Andrew Sisson

Andrew graduated in mathematics and statistics from Melbourne University and joined the investment department of National Mutual Life as a share analyst in January 1974. He worked for National Mutual for fourteen years managing the share portfolios of the statutory funds as well as the portfolio management subsidiary.

He established Balanced Equity Management in 1988 to manage discrete portfolios of Australian shares. It now has $10 billion under management, concentrating on the largest fifty companies in the index with an investment approach based on long-term view fundamental value. In 2011 Balanced Equity Management was acquired by Franklin Resources Inc, a funds management company listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Andrew joined the Opera Australia Board in February 2017.

Josephine Sukkar AM

Josephine is a professional company director who works across a range of industries, including property, construction, finance, sport, the arts, medical research and social services.

A former scientist and teacher (BSc, (Hons), Grad. Dip. Ed.), she established Buildcorp with her husband 29 years ago, which employs over 300 staff and has revenue of $500 million.

Josephine serves on a number of private, public, government and not-for-profit boards, including Growthpoint Properties Australia, Parramatta Park Trust, Opera Australia, the Australian Museum, Centenary Institute of Medical Research, Melbourne University Infrastructure Committee and the Australian Rugby Foundation. She is President of Australian Women’s Rugby and through Buildcorp has been a major sponsor of rugby in Australia for nearly 30 years.

She has previously served as a director of The Trust Company, and was Co-President of the YWCA NSW.

In 2017 she was recognised for her services to the community, the arts and sports in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Josephine joined the board of Opera Australia in 2011.