David Gonski to lead Art Gallery Trust

Art Gallery of NSW. Photo: Arts NSW.

Art Gallery of NSW. Photo: Arts NSW.

Distinguished businessman and arts aficionado David Gonski AC has been appointed president of the Art Gallery of NSW Trust for the next three years.

Deputy Premier and Minister for the Arts Troy Grant said Mr Gonski, who will replace outgoing president Guido Belgiorno-Nettis AM, brings a vast array of skills, leadership and experience to the trust.

“David Gonski is one of the most respected figures in Australia’s arts community and was previously trust President from 1997 to 2006,” Mr Grant said.

“His expertise, knowledge and talent will greatly benefit the trust as it supports and advises the gallery’s management team to deliver first-class art with internationally acclaimed exhibitions and engaging public art programs.”

Mr Gonski said he is looking forward to getting on with the new role and is excited by what the next three years hold for the gallery.

“The Art Gallery of NSW is a special place for me and I’m thrilled to again be able to make a contribution through what will be an exciting time for the institution’s future,“ Mr Gonski said.

Mr Grant congratulated Mr Belgiorno-Nettis on the enormous contribution he has made as a trustee of the gallery over the past nine years, including the past three as president.

“Mr Belgiorno-Nettis’s biggest work has been developing the gallery’s masterplan and vision for the Sydney Modern project,” Mr Grant said.

Mr Belgiorno-Nettis has completed his three consecutive terms allowed in the Gallery’s constitution.

Current trustees Dr Mark Nelson, Geoffrey Ainsworth and Ben Quilty have also been reappointed for three-year terms.

Mr Gonski will take up the posting at the gallery from January 1 and will end his tenure as Chair of the Sydney Theatre Company in February.

Trustee Bios

David Gonski is Chancellor of the University of NSW, chairman of the ANZ Banking Group and Coca-Cola Amatil Limited, and chairman of the UNSW Foundation Limited, Sydney Theatre Company and the Australian School of Business. He has held senior board positions in the arts sector, including chair of the Australia Council for the Arts (2002- 2006), President of the Art Gallery of NSW (1997-2006), Chair of the National Institute of Dramatic Art (2001-2005), and Chair of Film Australia Ltd (1987- 995).

In 1996, Mr Gonski conducted a review of Commonwealth Assistance to the Australian Film Industry and in 1999 he took part in the Nugent Review Committee into Australia’s major arts organisations. In 2007, he was made of Life Governor of the Art Gallery of NSW and awarded a Companion of the Order of Australia. In 2011, he completed a major review into funding of the Australian education system.

Mark Nelson is Executive Chairman and Co-founder of the Caledonia Investments group of companies, a specialist global investment manager founded in 1992. Dr Nelson was educated at the Universities of Melbourne, and Cambridge, receiving his Doctorate in 1986. He is Chairman of Art Exhibitions Australia, a Trustee of the Sydney Swans Foundation, and a Governor of the Florey Institute of Neuroscience.

Geoffrey Ainsworth is a businessman who has held roles as Director and Group General Manager of Aristocrat and Chairman of Benthic Geotech Pty Limited. He is a member of the Tate Gallery International Council and has been a past Director of the Bundanon Trust and member of Australian Venice Biennale Commissioner’s Council. Mr Ainsworth became a member of the Order of Australia in 2011 ‘for service to the visual and performing arts through the promotion and support of contemporary art, and to the community’.

Ben Quilty is a practising artist and Sydney College of the Arts graduate. He also graduated from the Western Sydney University (WSU) School of Design, has completed studies in Aboriginal culture and history through Monash University, and in 2015 received an Honorary Doctorate from WSU. His work is held in numerous institutional collections and he has won awards including the Archibald Prize, Doug Moran Portrait Prize, Redlands Westpac Art Prize, National Self Portrait Prize, Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship and Prudential Eye Award for Contemporary Art.

Full Trust membership from 1 January 2016: David Gonski (President), Geoffrey Ainsworth, Dr Mark Nelson, Ben Quilty, Eleonora Triguboff, Samantha Meers, Gretel Packer, Andrew Roberts, the Hon Ashley Dawson-Damer, Khadim Ali, Professor Stephen Dowton.

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Published: 9 December 2015