Our People

Our People

Taronga is constituted under the Zoological Parks Board Act 1973 as a statutory authority owned by the people of New South Wales (NSW) and administered by the NSW Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water, (NSW DCCEEW).

Amended legislation in 1992 defined Taronga’s responsibilities in education, conservation, research and recreation. A minor amendment to the Act was undertaken in 2008 to formally recognise Taronga Conservation Society Australia as the official name, to better describe the work of the organisation.

Appointed Board

Section 6 of the Zoological Parks Board Act 1973 (NSW) stipulates the criteria under which the members are appointed to the Board. The Board meets six times during the year.

Ms Kristin Stubbins AM

BA, BCom, INSEAD

Ms Stubbins was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for services to finance, women and the community in 2023. Her career in finance has spanned over 30 years working with some of Australia’s and the world’s leading companies. She was named as one of the Australian Financial Review’s 100 Women of Influence having been nominated in the innovation category. Ms Stubbins has a passion for bringing together groups of people to effect change, often utilising technology, both in the business world and in the community more broadly. In addition to her role on the Taronga Board, she is also currently a board member of Mindgardens (an innovative mental health alliance) and the Co-chair of Women for Change, an organisation that supports women in developing nations to achieve a tertiary education.

Term expires 30 June 2024. 

Ms Laura Berry

GradCert, MAICD

Ministerial Appointee. Chair of the Community Engagement and Sustainability Committee. Ms Berry’s career has spanned both private and public sectors over two decades, most recently as the CEO of Indigenous business organisation, Supply Nation. Ms Berry has extensive experience across stakeholder management, risk mitigation and reputation management and working with Indigenous business and procurement. She is a founding director of the Global Supplier Diversity Alliance, and in 2018, Ms Berry was announced as one of the Australian Financial Review’s Top 100 Women of Influence. During 2020 she served as a Commissioner for the Prime Minister’s National COVID19 Commission and is currently the Australian Co-Chair of the Australian New Zealand Leadership Forum’s Indigenous Business Sector Group. 

Term expires 31 December 2025.

Ms Catherine Harris AO PSM 

Hon.DBus

Ministerial Appointee. Member of the Wildlife Conservation Committee and Community Engagement and Sustainability Committee. Ms Catherine Harris is Chairperson of Harris Farm Markets Pty Ltd. She is on the board of The Australian School of Business UNSW and newly appointed to GreenCollar. Ms Harris has only recently stepped down as Consul General for Bhutan and as a Board member of the Australian Ballet. Previous roles have included Federal Director of Affirmative Action and Deputy Chancellor of the University of NSW, NRL Commissioner, Trustee of the Sydney Cricket Ground Trust, The Australian Defence Force Academy, The National Gallery of Australia, Museum of Contemporary Art, The Sports Australia Hall of Fame, and Chairperson of the Australia Japan Foundation. Ms Harris is an Officer in the Order of Australia and was awarded the Australian Public Service Medal, The Centenary Medal and has an Honorary Doctorate in Business from UNSW. 

Term expires 31 December 2025

Mr Michael Herring

B Comm LLM  

Ministerial Appointed. Chair of the Performance, Audit, Risk & Safety Committee. Mr Herring spent 17 years as an Executive Director of Macquarie Group Limited, 12 years as Group General Counsel and 5 years as an investment banker with Macquarie Capital. Prior to Macquarie, Mr Herring was a corporate partner and a managing partner at King and Wood Mallesons for over 16 years. He is a Director of ASX listed Region Group Limited. Mr Herring has also been a Director and Chairman of The Skin Hospital and a director of Osteoporosis Australia Limited. 

Term expires 30 June 2026.

Professor Talal Yassine OAM

BA, LLB LLM, MBA, FAICD

Ministerial Appointed. Talal Yassine is an experienced business leader, entrepreneur and academic. Currently, Talal serves as Managing Director of Salaam Wealth, Non-Executive Director of Salaam Finance, Director of Salaam Foundation, Director of the Salaam Institute, Council Member for the Australian Fathering Awards, Committee Member for Powerhouse Parramatta Capital Campaign and Member of the Western Sydney University Foundation Council Board. Talal also serves as Chairman of First Quay Capital and LandCorp Australia. Previously, Talal has served on the Board of Australia Post, Sydney Ports, Macquarie University Council and the Western Sydney Area Health Service and the Chairman of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Council of Australia Arab Relations. Talal holds a Master of Laws and a Master of Business Administration which was focused on international business strategy. In November 2012, Talal was also appointed as a Vice Chancellor’s Professorial Fellow within the Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University and in 2014 was appointed Adjunct Professor within the School of Business, Western Sydney University. Talal was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for his service to business and to the community through a range of education, health and multicultural organisations.

Term expires 31 December 2026.

Professor Richard Kingsford

BSc, Dip. Ed, Ph.D

Ministerial Appointed. Chair of the Wildlife Conservation Committee. Professor Richard Kingsford is a river ecologist and conservation biologist who has worked extensively across the wetlands and rivers of the Murray-Darling Basin and Lake Eyre Basin. He worked for the NSW Government Environment agency from 1986-2004. He also worked with many different communities and governments across this region. His research has influenced the policy and management of rivers in Australia, including through involvement on state and federal advisory committees. He also leads a reintroduction or rewilding project, Wild Deserts, in Sturt National Park (NSW), collaborating on the Platypus Conservation Initiative and Red-Listing of Ecosystems. He is also researches effective ways of implementing effective conservation actions through developing adaptive management approaches and engagement with communities.  

Term expires 30 June 2026.

Mr Murray Wood

EnvSc&Mgt, MBA

Representing Dubbo Council. Member of the Performance, Audit, Risk and Safety Committee and Community Engagement and Sustainability Committee. Mr Wood is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Dubbo Regional Council, which has a population of approximately 55,000 people across an area of some 7,500km2, and maintains an annual budget of $230M. Mr Wood leads an Organisation of 538 staff with a wide range of operations and services to the community within the Local Government Area. This role follows on from an extensive career in government at both state and local levels, affording him the opportunity to develop a wealth of industry experience and knowledge across Regional NSW in addition to the establishment of national and international networks

Term expires 30 June 2026.

Mr Joe David 

Dip Law SAB

Nominated by an organisation involved in providing financial or other support to Taronga Zoo Sydney and representing Taronga’s volunteer community. Member of the Performance, Audit, Risk and Safety Committee and Wildlife Conservation Committee. Mr David is a Special Counsel in the Property and Real Estate practice group of national law firm Corrs Chambers Westgarth. This role follows on from an extensive career in law, in private practice at other national and international law firms. He has also represented many of Australia’s leading property developers. Mr David was named in the 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 editions of Best Lawyers in Australia in Real Estate. He has been an active volunteer at Taronga Zoo in Sydney since 2017. 

Term expires 30 June 2025.

Ms Jennifer Cowley OAM

BA, Dip.Soc.Sci, Dip.Man

Nominated by an organisation involved in providing financial or other support to Taronga Western Plains Zoo. Member of the Wildlife Conservation Committee and Community Engagement and Sustainability Committee. Ms Cowley has built a career in regional media and community development over many years – she is a journalist, editor and published author of a number of non-fiction and children’s books. Ms Cowley has significant experience working with at-risk youth, in the mental health, loss and grief spaces and has been involved with a number of humanitarian projects in Australia and around the world. She has also worked extensively with the remote Aboriginal communities of central Australia and western NSW. She is a devoted advocate for regional Australia, its communities and people. In 2019, Ms Cowley was awarded the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for her services to regional communities through a range of organisations. 

Term expires 30 June 2025. 

Ms Sarah Norgate

BA LLM (UNSW); GradDip Applied Corporate Governance (GIA)

Representing Mosman Council. Member of the Performance, Audit, Risk & Safety Committee. Ms Norgate has been practising as a commercial and property lawyer in Sydney for many years. She currently manages the in-house legal team at Metcash, Australia’s leading wholesale distribution and marketing company supporting food, liquor and hardware independent businesses. Ms Norgate regularly advises on risk and compliance issues, mergers and acquisitions, tendering, contracting, property development and disputes and litigation.

Term expires 30 June 2024. 

Taronga Executive Team

The Executive Team meets monthly as a collegiate group to guide implementation of Taronga’s strategies and review performance.

Chief Executive
Mr Cameron Kerr AO

Executive Director – Taronga Zoo Operations
Mr Nick Boyle

Divisional Director – People, Culture and Safety
Mr Stuart Marshall

Divisional Director – Corporate Services and Governance
Ms Narelle Beattie

Divisional Director – Marketing, Communications and Fundraising
Ms Leila Davis

Divisional Director – Welfare, Conservation and Science
Andrew Elphinstone

Divisional Director – Taronga Western Plains Zoo Dubbo
Mr Steve Hinks

Director – Capital Programs
Mr Brad Milner

Director – Education
Mr Paul Maguire

Director – Guest Experience & Commercial Operations
Mr Elio Bombonato

Director – Asset Management
Mr Rodd Stapley

Director – Information Technology
Ms Fresia Segovia

Board committees

Performance, Audit, Risk & Safety Committee

Chair – Michael Herring AM

Monitors financial performance, including work health and safety, environmental sustainability, human resource management, capital works programs and infrastructure. Monitors and covers issues relating to internal control systems, risk management systems, financial reporting and other financial responsibilities. Consists of selected Board Members with representatives from the NSW Audit Office and independent auditors KPMG:

  • Mr Joe David
  • Ms Kristin Stubbins AM
  • Ms Sarah Norgate
  • Mr Murray Wood
  • Prof Talal Yassine OAM

Community Engagement & Sustainability Committee

Chair – Ms Laura Berry

Monitors all marketing activities including communications, Taronga Foundation, education, guest experience, community programs and tourism development. Consists of selected Board Members:

  • Ms Jennifer Cowley OAM
  • Ms Catherine Harris AO PSM
  • Mr Murray Wood

Wildlife Conservation Committee 

Chair - Prof Richard Kingsford

Monitors population management, wildlife conservation, research and veterinary services.

  • Ms Jennifer Cowley 
  • Ms Catherine Harris 
  • Mr Joe David

Consists of selected Board members and external contributors from appropriate specialist fields: 

  • Mr Steve Coleman, RSPCA NSW
  • Dr Simon Longstaff AO, The Ethics Centre
  • Dr Ian Roth PSM

Animal Ethics Committee

Statutory committee through which all research projects involving animal research must be approved. Constituted in accordance with the Animal Research Act 1985 and consists of the following representatives:

  • Dr Justine O’Brien, Chair
  • Dr Monique Van Sluys (Researcher) 
  • Dr Jo Day (Researcher)
  • Dr Frances Hulst (Veterinarian)
  • Dr Peter Johnson (Veterinarian) 
  • Mr David Roden (Independent representative)
  • Mr Harold Eagleton AM (Independent representative)
  • Dr Catherine Brett (Animal welfare representative)
  • Mr Aaron Purcell (Animal welfare representative)