Ian Irving

Chairman, 2018 - Present

Ian was appointed Deputy Chairman of the Ai Group Defence Council in 2017 and subsequently as Chairman in 2018. Ian has had a longstanding relationship with the Defence Council, representing Northrop Grumman Australia who have been members since 2015.

With more than 25 years’ experience at senior executive levels within the Australian defence and aerospace industry Ian brings a wealth of knowledge to the position of Deputy Chairman.

Ian joined Northrop Grumman in 2011 and was appointed Chief Executive in 2013. Prior to that he was Vice President, Land Systems and Deputy Chief Executive Officer at Thales Australia, where he held various leadership positions over a period spanning twelve years. This was preceded by eleven years with Rockwell and Boeing Australia.

Starting his career in the naval domain Ian held technical and leadership responsibilities for projects and product development in naval combat systems, naval and airborne sonar, aerospace systems, helicopter avionics, mission system and platform simulation, training services, military protected vehicles, land communications and C4I, armaments, explosive ordnance systems and logistics support services. Over the last two decades Ian has held senior positions within industry across a number of Australia’s major defence procurement and sustainment programmes.

This has included responsibility for the delivery of major defence systems, the conduct of leading edge research and development, and the establishment of industrial capabilities delivering key defence exports for Australia. Most recently, Ian has held responsibility as an external member of the Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) Gate Review organisation.

Under Ian’s defence consultancy organisation, Ian was also assigned responsibility as the Commonwealth’s Lead Technical Negotiator for the recent acquisition of Australia’s future military logistics vehicles.

Ian is an Honours graduate in Electrical Engineering from Sydney University. He holds a number of professional memberships with organisations including the Australian Institute of Project Management, the Submarine Institute of Australia, and the Sydney Aerospace & Defence Interest Group.

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Andy Keough, CSC

Deputy Chairman, 2018 - Present

Andy joined the RAN Naval College in 1985 and graduated from the Australian Defence Force Academy in 1987 with a BSc. Andy transferred to submarines in 1989 and later commanded two Collins class submarines, HMAS WALLER (1999-2000) and HMAS SHEEAN (2004-05).

In between commands, Andy served on the staff of Commander US Submarine Force Pacific (COMSUBPAC), in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii where he developed tactics and provided training for the US Navy Submarine Fleet.

In 2006, Andy joined the staff of Fleet Headquarters as the Fleet Submarine Operations Officer, responsible to the Fleet Commander for the operations of the submarine force. Andy retired from the RAN in 2007 and, after a brief stint with Thales, joined ASC. From 2009 to 2015, Andy was responsible for establishing the business improvement capability, before assuming responsibility ASC’s operations in WA, which included maintenance and training for the Collins class submarine fleet.

In August 2015, Andy commenced his role as the Chief Executive Defence SA where he was responsible for attracting and promoting defence industry in South Australia and the managing of the Techport maritime precinct. Andy commenced his current role in November 2017 as Managing Director, Saab Australia.

Andy has an MBA and was awarded the Conspicuous Service Cross (CSC) in 2006 for his leadership whilst in command of HMAS SHEEAN. He is an Adjunct Professor at the University of South Australia and the Chair of the South Australian defence industry Indigenous Employment Cluster.

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Kate Louis

Executive Director, 2017 - Present

Kate was appointed Executive Director of the Ai Group Defence Council and Head of Defence and Industry Policy at the Australian Industry Group in August 2017.

Kate joined the Department of Defence in 1997 as a graduate in contracting.

Kate has extensive experience with Defence capability development having worked as Director, Chief of Staff, and Assistant Secretary within Capability Development Group, Capability Investment and Resource Division. This experience has equipped Kate with the knowledge and skills to manage the development of major capital equipment acquisition submissions for the Government.

In June 2010 Kate commenced her first SES role as the Assistant Secretary Investment Analysis. As the Assistant Secretary Investment Analysis, Kate was responsible for overseeing and directing the activities of the Investment Analysis staff in the contestability function and preparation of Ministerial and Cabinet submissions for the acquisition of new major capital equipment.

In April 2014 Kate was appointed as Assistant Secretary White Paper Enterprise Management to develop industry related Defence policy including Shipbuilding and the Defence Industry Policy Statement.

Having acted in the position of First Assistant Secretary Defence Industry Policy Division from 19 November 2015 Kate was formally appointed to the position on 01 March 2016. Kate was responsible for the effective implementation of the Government’s approach to Defence Industry policy.

Kate has a Bachelor of Laws (1st Class Honours) and Bachelor of Arts from the Australian National University.

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