Australia Council announces new Chief Executive Officer

Adrian Collette AMThe Australia Council for the Arts has announced the appointment of Adrian Collette AM as its incoming Chief Executive Officer.

“On behalf of both the Australia Council Board and its staff, I congratulate Adrian and welcome him to our Executive team,” said Chair Sam Walsh AO. “Adrian is an outstanding leader who brings a wealth of experience and unwavering passion for the arts to this role.”

“He also brings deep knowledge of the Council through his valuable contribution as a Council Board member. We are very confident that Adrian will deftly steer the Australia Council through its next exciting chapter, ensuring the Council’s ongoing commitment to the arts enriching the lives of all Australians.”

A recognised and respected arts leader, Adrian Collette was appointed by a selection panel following a recruitment process involving an external executive recruitment agency. Adrian Collette’s extensive experience is wide ranging. He held the position of Chief Executive of Opera Australia, Australia’s largest performing arts company for 16 years and has also worked in book publishing for a decade, including as Managing Director, Reed Books, a Division of Reed Elsevier.

His current role of Vice-Principal (Engagement) at the University of Melbourne includes the oversight of the University’s museums and galleries and its many arts sector partnerships. His recent achievements and work in building the University’s civic engagement will be an excellent foundation to further the Council’s ongoing advocacy for the public value of the arts and their place in the lives of all Australians. Adrian has developed a close collaboration with the University’s indigenous leaders and scholars, particularly around the development of the University’s partnership with indigenous communities.

His experience as a member of the Australia Council Board since 1 July 2013 and Chair of the Major Performing Arts Panel, will also be invaluable in his role. He was made a member of the Order of Australia in 2008 for service to the performing arts particularly through executive roles with Opera Australia, as a mentor to young artists, to publishing and to the community.

“I am honoured to take the reins of this exceptional organisation with which I have had a close connection for decades,” said Mr Collette. “I acknowledge the great achievements of those in whose footsteps I follow, not least Tony Grybowski who has taken the Council through its most significant transformation in its 50 year history.”

I am looking forward to working with the Council Executive and staff to continue our important work of championing and investing in the arts so that the great benefits of the arts may be experienced by all Australians. Creative endeavour is increasingly being recognised as essential to more vibrant, prosperous and inclusive societies.”

“I believe we need to listen to all our communities and respond with fresh approaches to supporting Australian arts and culture. This means opening doors to support for new forms, diverse practice and celebrating our extraordinary First Nations arts.”

Adrian Collette AM will commence at the Australia Council in January 2019. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Adrian Collette AM (supplied)