A bald man in a suit - Dr Don Russell

Don Russell

Expertise: Economics, Innovation, Investment, Energy, Public sector, Climate change

Dr Don Russell is Acting Chair of the CPD Board and Chair of Australian Super. Until March 2018, Dr Don Russell was the Chief Executive of the South Australian Department of the Premier and Cabinet (DPC); he was appointed on 6 February 2017.

In taking up that new role, Dr Russell brought with him responsibility for resources and energy which he had as Chief Executive of the Department of State Development (DSD), a position he held from 2014 to 2017.

In addition to resources and energy, DSD had responsibility for industry, vocational training, the universities, science and innovation, trade and investment as well as arts and aboriginal affairs. Dr Russell reported to five ministers.

Until September 2013, Dr Russell was the Secretary of the Federal Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education. The Department had close to 4,000 employees, 23 divisions and a budget of $18.4 billion and was responsible for 10 agencies. Staff were located across 85 locations and the Department maintained a network of science and education councillors around the world. Dr Russell reported to five ministers and two parliamentary secretaries.  Dr Don Russell took up the position of Secretary in June 2011.

Don was previously Independent Chairperson of State Super, a role that he held from 1 January 2008. State Super is a $32 billion fund that manages public service defined benefit schemes for the NSW State Government.

Until March 2010, Don was the Global Investment Strategist at BNY Mellon Asset Management Australia. BNY Mellon is a global investments company with $26 trillion under custody and/or administration and $1.4 trillion under management.

Prior to joining BNY Mellon in 2007, Don was Executive Director with WestLB Mellon Asset Management (Australia). Don joined WestLB in 2001. WestLB was the largest of the German Landesbanks and was based in Dusseldorf.

Between 1997 and 2000, Don worked for Sanford C. Bernstein, a research and money management firm in New York. Between 1985 and 1993, and again in 1996, he was Principal Adviser to the Hon Paul Keating both during his time as Treasurer and Prime Minister. Between 1993 and 1995 Don served as Australia’s Ambassador to the USA in Washington.

Don also worked for the Commonwealth Treasury, joining as a cadet, and in 1985, prior to joining Paul Keating’s Office he was Assistant Secretary, Economic Branch where he was responsible for economic forecasts and assessments of the Australian economy. Don was at various times a consultant to the World Bank, Bankers Trust, Westpac Bank and Counsellor in the Australian delegation to the OECD in Paris. Don has a PhD from the London School of Economics, a MEc from ANU and a BEc (Hons) (First) from Flinders University. Don also holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation (CFA) 2007.


In the media

As part of CPD's board transition, Sam Mostyn AO has stepped down as Chair and Deputy Chair Dr Don Russell has been appointed as Acting Board Chair.