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Who We Are

Board

Des Graham
Associate Professor Desmond Graham
President
MSc, RN, AICD

Appointed to the MS Australia Board in 2014, and appointed President in 2019, having served previously as vice president. Des also serves on the Board of MS Limited and MS Research Australia and previously as Board Chair of MS Tasmania and has recently been appointed to the MSIF Board.

With over thirty five years' experience in health and human services, Des has held senior public sector positions in various States. He was the inaugural CEO for the Mental Health Council of Australia and has represented Australia at a number of international forums.

Des' qualifications include nursing, a Master of Science (Mental Health), and an adjunct position with the University of Tasmania. Six years after his diagnosis of MS he retired as the Deputy Secretary Children, and Executive Director, Policy, Information & Commissioning Groups, with the Department of Health and Human Services.

Professionally, one of Des' most prized achievements was the dedication of a Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Award to the Mental Health Council of Australia for his services to consumer and carer participation in health service planning and individual care.

 

George Pampacos
Vice President

BCom, CA, Member of ICAA

George was appointed to the MS Australia board in 2017.  He served on the MSWA Board for 10 years from 2010. After Chairing the Audit and Risk Committee and Fundraising Committee, George was President of MSWA from 2013 until 2020. George’s interest in MS is due to seeing his Mum and close friends live with the disease.
 
George’s background is of a financial nature. Graduating with a commerce degree in 1996, he has been a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants since 1999, a registered company auditor and a specialist Self-Managed Superannuation Fund (SMSF) auditor.
 
He is a director of Flinders Financial a financial services based business providing financial advice and planning for privately owned businesses and their owners.
Horst Bemmerl
FIPA

Horst was appointed to the MS Australia Board in December 2020, and also serves on MSWA's board as Vice President. He has worked for the last twenty-three years in Financial and Commercial Management involved with business growth and design strategies, process and transactional improvements together with traditional Financial Management. Horst has gained management experience in a broad and diverse range of industries, with key involvement in many management disciplines including, risk and compliance, treasury, taxation, business strategy and organisational development.
 
Ron Brent

LLB (ANU), BEc (ANU)

Ron was appointed to the MSA Board in 2018. He is also currently chair of the Australian Research Integrity Committee that considers disputes over research integrity providing advice to the CEO’s of the National Health and Medical Research Council and the Australian Research Council.

Ron recently retired as Australia’s first Aircraft Noise Ombudsman (ANO), having held the position from 2010 to 2017.  Prior to this, he held the role of Commonwealth Ombudsman for six months and before that, Deputy Commonwealth Ombudsman for seven years.  He also has experience in management and leadership having been Director of the National Film and Sound Archive for 10 years, as well as policy and legal roles in various Government departments.

 Ron has served on a number of Boards and is currently on the Board of the National Folk Festival alongside his roles with Multiple Sclerosis Limited and Multiple Sclerosis Australia.

Sharlene Brown
LLB, Grad. Cert. Legal Prac, Cert. Governance (GIA), Admitted to Supreme Courts of WA, Vic and Tas
 
Sharlene was appointed to the MS Australia Board in July 2019, while also serving on the MS Limited Board. Her previous roles include Ambassador and Board Member of the MS organisations in Western Australia and Tasmania.  Sharlene was also Interim CEO of MS Tasmania during its merger with MS Limited.  
 
She brings to the Board extensive knowledge and experience as a legal and governance professional having previously worked as General Manager, Company Secretary, and General Counsel with a number of Tasmanian organisations. She is currently the Group General Counsel for a Tasmanian and Qld based organisation, and a guest lecturer with the University of Tasmania.  
 
Sharlene lives with RRMS, and understands first-hand the limitations a MS diagnosis may have on those affected. She is a water polo, and tee-ball coach for her son’s school and enjoys nothing more than those opportunities to be a ‘soccer Mum’ 
Chris Gillies
Christina Gillies

Chris Gillies is a person living with MS. In addition to serving on the Board of MS Australia since 2001, she serves on the Boards of MS Limited, holding the position of Chair from 2006-2013, Australian Home Care Services, and until recently MS Research Australia.

Chris brings to the Board extensive executive experience in mergers, acquisitions, organisational change and information technology. She is an independent Non-Executive Director serving on a number of boards and committees and advises boards on establishing IT Governance leadership. Prior to her board career, Chris was Group Executive, Group Services at St George Bank where her role included managing the integration with Advance, Chief Information Officer for the Bank of Melbourne and Victorian Director of the DMR Group.

Chris has over 20 years’ experience as a Director and more than 40 years’ experience in business management and IT.

Christine Hahn
Christine Hahn

BA Acc (S.A.I.T.), Grad Dip App Fin & Inv, FCA, GAICD

Christine was appointed to the MS Australia Board in 2016.  Following a period as Acting CEO of MS SA & NT in 2017, she returned to the MS Australia Board in late 2017 and resumed as President of MS SA & NT.

Christine has extensive global experience in strategy and operations across diverse industries in the public and private sectors as CEO and other executive roles including with Santos Ltd, F H Faulding & Co Ltd and Barossa Valley Estate Ltd.

She has been responsible for major change including revenue growth; restructure; M & A and efficiency improvements.  Christine has raised equity and debt funding and has been awarded multi-million dollar government grants.

Christine now consults with organisations, advising on improvement and growth opportunities, financing, preparation of strategic and business plans and assistance with implementation.

She also co-wrote and now delivers the capstone subject in the Masters of Applied Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Adelaide, guiding entrepreneurs pitching their business ideas.

Johanna Roche

BComm, FCA, FTIA, GAICD

Johanna was appointed to the MS Australia board in 2019 and to the MS Research Australia Board in June 2021. She is also the Board Treasurer of MS Queensland and has served as a board member since 2010.
 
Her other professional experience includes Non-Executive Director and Corporate Tax Consultant. President and Board member of Handball Australia. Non-Executive Director of a number of private companies. Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. Member of the Tax Institute of Australia. Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Former Partner of PwC Australia.
 
Bronwyn Rout

BA LLB, GradDipAppCorpGov, FGIA FCGI, GAICD

Bronwyn was appointed to the MS Australia Board in July 2021. She is a qualified lawyer, an experienced Company Secretary, Board Chair and Director and General Manager, having recently completed a nine year term as Non-Executive Director of Deaf Services Ltd, with the last two years as Chair of the Board.

Bronwyn has also performed the role of Corporate Secretary and General Manager, Legal and Governance for the Queensland Law Society, was the Assistant Company Secretary for Queensland Rail and recently accepted the full-time role of Company Secretary for Allianz Partners Australia.

Bronwyn is a Graduate of AICD, has a Graduate Diploma in Applied Corporate Governance from Governance Institute of Australia and is a qualified lawyer.

Vicki Thomson

Vicki was appointed to the MS Australia Board in July 2021. Vicki is the Chief Executive of the Group of Eight (Go8) research intensive universities, responsible for 70% of all university-based research in Australia. Prior to her role with the Go8, she held a similar role with the Australian Technology Network (ATN) of Universities.

Vicki is currently on a number of national and international committees and Councils and has also previously been on the MS Research Australia Leadership Council.

In 2018, 2019 and 2020 Vicki was named by the Australian Financial Review Power List as in the top tree most influential people in Australia’s education sector.

Vicki is committed to the broad area of disability and specifically MS and her sister is living with MS and was diagnosed when she was 40.

Garry R Whatley
Garry R Whatley
GAICD, BBus (Accounting and Information Technology), MBA (Chairman)
 
Garry was appointed to the MSA board in September 2019. He has served as the Chairman of MS Limited’s board since July 2019, having been previously appointed as a Non-Executive Director in 2009, and as Deputy Chairman in December 2013. He brings to the Board over 28 years of experience in the Information Technology industry and is well respected within his field.
 
Having both family and friends living with MS, Garry is passionate about and has a strong personal commitment to making a significant contribution to the goals of Multiple Sclerosis Limited (MS) through his extensive professional skills.