Diane Smith Gander is one of a select few women elected Chairman of an ASX 200 company, she also serves as a Commissioner for Tourism WA, director for CBH Group, and a non-executive director on the Board of Wesfarmers.
As one of the few female chairs of an Australian listed company, Diane is proud to serve as a member of CEW, a nonprofit organization devoted to helping women break through the glass ceiling of big business.
Diane Smith Gander currently holds the position of Chairman Elect (Non-executive Director) of Transfield Services Limited, Commissioner at Tourism WA, Non-executive Director at Wesfarmers Limited, Non-executive Director at CBH Groups, and is a member of the Business School Board at the University of Western Australia. She is also an elected member of the Board of the Committee for Perth and a member of the MLC council, stewarding a private girls’ school in Perth.
At Transfield Services Limited, Diane Smith Gander brings her expertise and over 30 years of experience in the business world to the company, in the hopes of ensuring Transfield Services Limited thrives in the midst of a difficult time for the industry. Her business savvy and past experience in the financial sector make her a prime candidate for her current position, and she brings a positive energy to the corporation with her impressive credentials.
At Tourism WA, Diane Smith Gander, through her role as Commissioner, is seeking to expand the tourism industry in Western Australia through a wine and food angle. Her experience in business and finance gives her an edge in the field, as she brings her expertise to tackling the difficult issues around navigating the tourism industry.
Her work with CBH, where she was the first woman appointed Director in the company’s history, is focused around devising management strategies to deal with the increasingly competitive nature of the industry, and to help navigate the company through time of industry consolidation and global competition.
A native of Perth, Australia, Diane Smith Gander received her B Ec in Economics at the University of Western Australia in 1984. From there, she attended the University of Sydney, where she received her MBA in 1987.
After graduation, Gander was hired as a Consultant by PA Consulting Group, where she focused on short-term performance improvement in retail financial service institutions. After six years with the company, Westpac Banking Corporation, where she managed and oversaw operations and banking line operations, hired her as a General Manager. She was responsible for several projects that brought major changes to the company, including a company merger, and back office central sites building and implementation. While working for Westpac Banking Corporation, she also chaired the board for the ASDA from 1995-2000, the period leading up to the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
After ten years with Westpac Banking Corporation, Diane Smith Gander took her knowledge and experience to McKinsey and Company, where she became a partner. Here she advised clients in many locations on dealing with situations of major change, drawing on her experiences with Westpac Banking Corporation, with a particular focus on post merger management. She remained with McKinsey and Company until 2007, when she again worked with Westpac Banking Corporation, this time as a Group Executive. Here she was responsible for operations and information technology (IT) functions group wide, further broadening her knowledge of business management.
In 2008 she was offered the position of Chairperson of the board for Basketball Australia, and with her board of mostly independent directors helped the sport through the initial stages of unification in Australia. During this time she also became the Non-executive Director for NBN Co, the National Broadband Network Company, and became a Council Member for the nonprofit organization Chief Executive Women (CEW). She retains her position as a council member with the CEW until 2013, furthering her passion for gender equality in Australia. In 2011, she left Basketball Australia and became Deputy Chairman for NBN, where she served until 2013, when she resigned to become Chairman Elect for Transfield Limited.
2009 was a busy year for Gander, as she was also invited to be the Non-executive Director for Wesfarmers, a position she retains today. In 2010, she was appointed to the board of Transfield Services as an independent non-executive director, a position she is up for reelection for in October 2013. She also became a Commissioner of Tourism WA in 2012, where she is endeavoring to bring positive change to the tourism industry.
In 2011, Diane Smith Gander became the Non-Executive Director for CBH Limited, Australia’s largest cooperative. CBH operates grain storage and handling in Western Australia, and markets and trades grain on an international level. CBH strives to support the development of a thriving grain industry in Western Australia, something Diane is helping to achieve through her business management skills.
Gander has a passion for her work with the CEW, especially since she is only the eleventh woman to be elected to the position of Chairperson for an ASX 200 company. She donates time and money to help support the group’s efforts to help bring more women into the upper levels of management in business. As a woman, she understands the value of the work the organization performs and the importance of such groups to aspiring businesswomen. She also contributes her time and money to educational groups, including the University of Western Australia’s Business School Board, in a further effort to bring business education to young people, especially young women.
Outside of the business industry, she also operates a commercial vineyard, located in Margaret River, where she grows grapes for chardonnay, shiraz, and cabernet sauvignon. Diane’s work with the vineyard brings her an understanding about the agricultural business climate in Australia, knowledge that helps her in her work with CBH.
Diane Smith Gander is passionate about her work, and plans on continuing to bring her expertise and experience to the table wherever she goes. Few businessmen and women have the breadth of executive and consulting experience of Gander, and she takes her role as a leader in the business industry very seriously. Her work with the Business School Board of the University of Western Australia and the CEW is important to her, and she considers it to be an integral part of her professional career, despite its nonprofit status. It is her hope that her work will inspire young businesswomen to reach the top, despite the adversities women face in the male dominated business world.
Diane Smith Gander finds her work with Transfield Services Limited exciting and challenging, and she is looking forward to assisting the company through the coming changes in management structure planned by the CEO.