Chris Jenkins, CEO of Thales Australia has been elected as the new National President of the Australian Industry Group (Ai Group).

Jenkins replaces Noel Cornish who had been Ai Group National President since November 2013. Jenkins was appointed CEO at Thales Australia in 2008 and has held senior roles with Thales locally and internationally for more than 20 years. He has been active in Ai Group for many years, including most recently as Ai Group National Vice-President; Chairman of Ai Group’s Defence Council; and Ai Group NSW Branch President. His other appointments include Advisory Member of the Centre for Defence Industry Capability and Adjunct Professor of the University of NSW. In 2013 he received the Insignia of Knight in the Legion of Honour, France’s highest decoration.

“As President I look forward to working to ensure Ai Group is the premier industry body in Australia, representing our member interests and supporting policies that help our economy grow,” Jenkins said. “I very much share Ai Group’s ambition to make Australia the best place to do business. I am a passionate believer in the strength of local skills and a strong advocate for the global competitiveness of Australian engineering, design and manufacture.

“There are many challenges ahead for business on which Ai Group will take a positive role in influencing the delivery of good policy including around tax, workplace relations, energy and skills. These will be among our biggest priorities in the year ahead.”

Ai Group’s National Executive expressed great appreciation to Cornish, for his leadership of Ai Group. His presidency covered a period of great change domestically and globally which saw Australian industry meet the challenges posed by the economic transition following the end of the mining boom.

Ai Group also elected a number of national office bearers. John Dixon, Managing Director of Redstar Transport Operations Pty Ltd, was named as National Deputy President, while Russell Rolls, Chairman, R G Melgaard & Co, was elected National Secretary-Treasurer. The newly elected National Vice-Presidents are:

  • NSW – Tony Warren, Group Managing Director Corporate Affairs, Telstra Corporation Limited.
  • Victoria – Jeff Connolly, Chief Executive Officer, Siemens Ltd.
  • South Australia – Alexander Kachellek, Managing Director, Korvest Ltd.
  • Queensland – Martin Munro, Chief Executive Officer, Watpac Construction Pty Ltd.