May 24, 2019

Helen Coonan takes the helm at Minerals Council

Helen Coonan takes the helm at Minerals Council

Former Cabinet Minister, lawyer and experienced director Helen Coonan is the new chair of the Minerals Council of Australia.

Ms Coonan will take over from Dr Vanessa Guthrie when she steps down following the MCA’s board meeting on June 18.

The MCA said her appointment for a two-year period was the result of an extensive selection process involving the MCA’s Board and CEO. 

Incoming MCA chair Helen Coonan.

“I am honoured to be appointed chair of the MCA at such a great time for our world-leading Australian minerals industry,” Ms Coonan said.

If Australia was to stay in front of its global competitors, the sector must continue to push for faster project approvals, greater sustainability and reforms in a whole range of policy areas, she said.

Dr Guthrie has been MCA Chair for the last three years after joining the Board in 2014.

“It has been a privilege to advocate on behalf of so many great companies and their employees – all of whom are critical to the economic success of Australia,” Dr Guthrie said.

“We have much to be proud of in Australian mining, including our status as a global technology leader and our record as the nation’s wealth creator and jobs generator.”

Ms Coonan served in the Parliament from 1996 to 2011, including as Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate. 

During her parliamentary career, Ms Coonan also served as Minister for Revenue and Assistant Treasurer. 

Prior to entering Parliament, Ms Coonan worked as a lawyer including as principal of her own legal firm, as a partner in law firm Gadens, as a commercial barrister in Australia and as an attorney in New York.

Subsequent roles have included inaugural Chair of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA), Non-Executive Director of Crown Resorts and Snowy Hydro, and advisory board positions with JP Morgan, Corporate Council of the European Australian Business Council and the Australia Israel Chamber of Commerce Advisory Council. 

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