Published on 24th August 2023 at 8:50

Qantas has today announced the appointment of a new non-executive director to its board, Dr Heather Smith PSM, as the national carrier maintains its focus on renewal.

Dr Smith had a 20 year career in the Australian Public Service (APS), having most recently held the position of Secretary of the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science between 2017 and 2020, and was Secretary of the Department of Communications and Arts prior to that between 2016 and 2017.

Dr Smith began her career as an economist at the Reserve Bank of Australia, before going on to complete a PhD in economics at the Australian National University (ANU). Dr Smith later joined the APS where she held numerous senior positions in the departments of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Treasury, as well as the Office of National Intelligence.

Dr Smith is a non-executive director of ASX Limited, Challenger Limited and a Professor at ANU National Security College. She is also National President of the Australian Institute of International Affairs.

Announcing the changes, Qantas Chairman Richard Goyder said: “Heather has had a distinguished career as an academic and in the Australian Public Service, having advised the highest levels of government on national security, economic reform, public policy and innovation. Heather’s extensive experience in these areas, and more recently as a board director, make her an excellent addition to the expertise on the Qantas Board”.

Dr Smith said: “It is an honour to become part of the Qantas board. I’m excited to be joining at a time when Qantas is entering a new phase of growth and renewal, and I look forward to working with my board colleagues and management to support that.”

Dr Smith will sit on the Board from today ahead of a shareholder vote at the company’s 2023 Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 3 November.

As announced in May 2023, current Non-Executive Director, Michael L’Estrange, will retire at the AGM after three terms.

Following the November AGM, Qantas will have a nine member board, consisting of five women and four men.


1988 – 1990                  Economist, Financial and Capital Market Issues Australia (Reserve Bank of Australia)

1990 – 1994                  PhD Candidate (Australian National University)

1994 – 2000                  Various Academic Roles (Australian National University)

2000 – 2003                  Head of International Economy Branch (Office of National Intelligence)

2003 – 2004                  General Manager, International Economy Branch (Department of Treasury)

2004 – 2005                  General Manager, G-20 and APEC Secretariat (Department of Treasury)

2005 – 2010                  Deputy Director-General (Office of National Intelligence)

2010 – 2013                  Deputy Secretary (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade)

2013 – 2013                  Deputy Secretary, Economic and Strategy (Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet)

2013 – 2015                  Deputy Secretary, G20 Sherpa (Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet)

2016 – 2017                  Secretary (Department of Communications and the Arts)

2017 – 2020                  Secretary (Department of Industry, Innovation and Science)

2020 – 2023                  Various Non-Executive Director Roles