Yarra Valley Water

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Board of Directors

The Board of Directors is responsible for setting the strategic direction, establishing goals for management and monitoring their achievement and monitoring the performance of the business. 

Gabrielle Bell
Chair

LLB (Hons), BEng (Chem) (Hons), GAICD Image of Gabrielle Bell with long brown hair smiling

Gabrielle Bell was appointed to the Board as Chair on 1 October 2023. 

Gabrielle brings a wealth of water management experience and leadership, and has served on the boards of South East Water, iota Services Pty Ltd and Southern Rural Water.

Gabrielle currently serves as a Non-Executive Director for Aware Real Estate Management Pty Ltd and BCI Minerals Limited (ASX:BCI) and has held prior roles in the public transport, superannuation and public health sectors.

Gabrielle is a corporate lawyer and has worked in both Australia and Southeast Asia. Her extensive experience in various sectors and her commitment to governance, industrial safety and climate change issues make her a valuable addition to our board. 

 

Rob Skinner AM
Deputy Chair

BE (Hons), MSc, FIEAust, FAICDRob Skinner

Rob Skinner became a Director on 1 October 2015.

He is a Professorial Fellow at the Monash Sustainable Development Institute, Chair of Victorian IWM Reference Group, Lead Chair of the DELWP's Integrated Water Management Forums, and Chair of NSW Independent Metropolitan Water Advisory Panel.  He is a Distinguished Fellow of the International Water Association (IWA) and Member of the Sydney Water Planning Partnership Independent Evaluation Panel.

Rob was Managing Director at Melbourne Water from 2005 to 2011, and Chief Executive Officer of the City of Kingston from 1996 to 2005. 

Over the past 20 years, Rob has been on a number of boards and involved in numerous advisory panels and reviews related to water policy and strategy in Victoria and elsewhere. 

 

Victor Perton
Director

BEc, LLB, LLM, Dip Chinese Law, GAICDVictor Perton

Victor Perton became a Director on 1 October 2015. 

Victor is the founder and Chief Optimism Officer of The Centre for Optimism, fostering infectiously optimistic leadership and has asked thousands of people, "What makes you Optimistic?" He is the author of "Optimism: The How and Why."  The Centre for Optimism is the legacy of the Australian Leadership Project Victor also founded.

He is passionate about the work of Yarra Valley Water and the broader Australian water sector and serves as an elected board member of VicWater. He is also passionate about excellent public policy and regulation and works with the Australian Public Services Academy on courses including Great Public Policy and Quality New Policy Proposals. He has chaired public sector inquiries and committees on technology, justice, equal opportunity, regulatory efficiency, subordinate legislation and several other topics.   

Victor brings 18 years of experience as a Member of the Parliament of Victoria. As a barrister, he has been a member of the Victorian Bar for 40 years. He is a former Commissioner to the Americas, promoting foreign direct investment in Victoria, supporting Victorian exporters, and building global supply chains and expatriate and alumni networks. He was a Senior Adviser to the Australian G20 presidency.

His experience in governance includes service on boards, including those of the Transport Accident Commission, the Global Integrity Summit, and the Australian Centre for Financial Studies, as well as advising on good governance.

 

Mary Kanavoutsos
Director

BEng (Chem) (Hons), GAICD Image of Mary with shoulder length brown hair smiling

Mary Kanavoutsos became a Director on 1 October 2023. 

Mary brings 30 years’ experience in the water infrastructure industry, including her role as an Executive Market Director at Jacobs. Her leadership in strategy, technical expertise, and project management spans across Australia, New Zealand, Asia, and the Middle East. Mary is widely acknowledged for her strong focus on business strategy, customer and community value.

Mary holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Chemical) Honors degree from University of Melbourne.

 

Robyn McLeod AM
Director

FAICD Image of Robyn McLeod with fair hair smiling

Robyn McLeod became a Director on 1 October 2023.

Robyn has served as the Independent Commissioner for Water Security in South Australia, National Director of Water at KPMG, and Executive Director of Major Projects, Water with the Department of Sustainability and Environment, Victoria.

Robyn was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in 2024 for her significant contribution to social  welfare and governance

Robyn currently holds positions on the Boards of Clean Teq Water Limited, Austin Health, and served on the Board of VicWater for four years, and Melbourne Water for eight years.

 

Karen Milward
Director

GAICDKaren Milward

Karen Milward became a Director on 1 October 2017.

Karen is the owner of Karen Milward Consultancy Services and is currently the Chair of Mullum Mullum Indigenous Gathering Place, Kinaway Chamber of Commerce Victoria Ltd, Community First Development (formerly Indigenous Community Volunteers) and member of the Victorian Aboriginal Employment and Economic Council.

Karen brings to the Board extensive experience in working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, having worked on complex projects commissioned by public sector agencies responsible for policies, programs and services impacting on Aboriginal communities and also having served on numerous committees and reference groups, including Ken Wyatt’s Local and Regional Voice to Parliament Group, Victorian Aboriginal Economic Board and the Premier’s Aboriginal Advisory Council.

 

Victoria Marles AM
Director

BA, Dip Ed, Dip Arts (Dramatic Arts), LLB (Hons), LLM, FAICDVictoria Marles

Victoria Marles became a Director on 1 October 2017.

Victoria is the Chair of Australian Land Conservation Alliance. She has practised as a lawyer in the private, not-for- profit and public sectors in media/communications and consumer complaints law.

Victoria has previously held the positions of  Chief Executive Officer of Trust for Nature, Director of Consumer Action Law Centre, Abbotsford Convent Foundation, Chief Executive Officer of the Legal Services Board (Victoria), Legal Services Commissioner (Victoria), Deputy Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman and has been a trustee of the Victorian Arts Centre Trust.

Victoria brings to the Board extensive knowledge in the areas of natural resource management, climate change adaption, biodiversity conservation/offsets and consumer law.

 

Kate Vinot
Director

B.E. (Hons) Civil Engineering, MBA (Executive), MSc Economics for Development (Hons), GAICDKate Vinot

Kate Vinot became a Director on 1 October 2021.

Kate is an experienced business leader with strong commercial acumen and a deep understanding of developing and delivering of effective strategies, with a particular focus on the water, energy, resources and environment sectors and sustainable urban development.

Kate brings exceptional skills in effective implementation of lasting strategic, customer-focussed transformational change in complex public, private and government organisations. She is able to bring the leaders of diverse specialist functions together into one high performing team to execute strategy across an organisation and beyond.

Kate has extensive knowledge of regulatory and policy frameworks and is a skilled speaker, facilitator and communicator who enjoys opportunities to promote ideas and issues in public forums.

Kate is Chair of Tasmanian Irrigation, Non-Executive Director Natural Hazards Research Australia, Governor Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation and Principal Ageos Consulting.

 

Ari Suss
Director

MPPM Master of Public Policy and Management, GAICD Ari Suss

Ari Suss became a Director on 1 October 2021.

Ari is Chief Executive Officer of Fox Special Projects Group, supporting the family investment arm of the Linfox Group of Companies. He also holds roles as a Board Member of Avalon Airport Australia and Director MAP Co Pty Ltd.

Ari has provided specialist expertise in regulatory, legislative, and political matters for Linfox’s logistics, property, and aviation businesses, joining as Manager of Government and Corporate Affairs in 2004. He became Executive Director of Fox Private Group in 2008.

Ari was a senior adviser to former Premier Steve Bracks between 1999 and 2004. During this time, he specialised in policy and advice in the areas of infrastructure development, transport, ports, major projects, multicultural affairs, and parliamentary strategy.

In 2011, Ari also commenced in his role as General Manager of the Australian Automotive Research Centre, a 1000-hectare vehicle test facility in Anglesea, Victoria.

 

Pat McCafferty
Managing Director   

BBus (Acc), Exec. MBA, GAICD, FWCLP, FIWAPat McCafferty

Pat McCafferty was appointed Managing Director on 1 July 2014.

With an extensive career in the water sector, Pat has significant experience in all facets of the sector, having held various executive roles in operations, strategy, finance, regulation and planning prior to his appointment as Yarra Valley Water’s Managing Director.

He has also worked in the USA water sector and advised the Australian Federal Government as part of the National Water Initiative.

Pat is Chair of the Thriving Communities Partnership (a national cross sector collaboration to improve support for vulnerable customers of essential services), Deputy Chair of WaterAid Australia and past Chair of the Water Services Association of Australia (Australia's peak body for major urban water utilities). Pat is also a member of the Leadership Oversight Committee for the Women in Water Leadership Program (a Water for Victoria initiative) and member of the Committee for Melbourne’s Standing Committee on Infrastructure and Sustainability.