ACCC & AER annual report 2016-17

Senior leadership

The ACCC’s senior leadership comprises members of the Commission (appointed by the Governor-General) and Senior Executive Service (SES) employees.

Senior leadership of the AER comprises the AER Board and SES employees who are engaged exclusively on energy matters.

Details of the leadership structure are in figure 2.1 on page 20.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

The ACCC has a chair, two deputy chairs, three full-time members and four associate members, one of whom is part-time. Their names and appointment terms are shown in table 4.1.

Table 4.1: Terms of appointment—current ACCC members at 30 June 2017



Appointed until


Rod Sims

31 July 2019

Deputy chairpersons

Delia Rickard

27 July 2022

Michael Schaper

29 May 2018


Cristina Cifuentes

29 May 2018

Sarah Court

30 April 2018

Roger Featherston

12 June 2019

Associate member, part-time*

Mick Keogh

22 February 2021

Associate members

Paula Conboy

30 September 2019

James Cox

25 June 2020

Susan Begg

16 June 2019

* Mr Mick Keogh serves as a member of the Commission working three days a week, primarily focused on agriculture matters.



Mr Rod Sims

Rod Sims was appointed Chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in August 2011 for a five-year term and was reappointed for a further three-year term until 2019.

Rod has extensive business and public sector experience. Immediately prior to his appointment to the ACCC, he was the Chairman of the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal of New South Wales, Commissioner on the National Competition Council, Chairman of InfraCo Asia, Director of Ingeus Limited, and a member of the Research and Policy Council of the Committee for Economic Development of Australia. Rod was also a Director of Port Jackson Partners Limited, where he advised the CEOs and boards of some of Australia’s top 50 companies on commercial corporate strategy over many years. Rod relinquished all of these roles on becoming Chairman of the ACCC.

Rod is also a past Chairman of the New South Wales Rail Infrastructure Corporation and the State Rail Authority and has been a director of a number of private sector companies. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, Rod worked as the Deputy Secretary in the Commonwealth Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet responsible for economic, infrastructure and social policy and the Cabinet Office. He also worked as a Deputy Secretary in the Department of Transport and Communications.

Rod Sims holds a first-class honours degree in commerce from the University of Melbourne and a Master of Economics from the Australian National University.

Deputy chairs

Ms Delia Rickard

Delia Rickard was appointed to the position of Deputy Chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in June 2012 for a period of five years. In July 2017 she was re-appointed for a further five years.

Delia brings extensive public service experience in the area of consumer protection.

She takes a particular interest in the ACCC’s consumer protection work and plays an active role in the Commission’s product safety work as well as its consumer protection compliance and enforcement work and scam disruption.

Immediately prior to her appointment to the ACCC, Delia held a range of senior positions at the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). She led much of ASIC’s consumer protection work covering areas such as financial literacy, dispute resolution schemes; e-payments and industry self-regulation. She was responsible for developing the first National Financial Literacy Strategy and chaired several Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development financial literacy sub-committees. She also led ASIC’s role in the implementation of the government’s Super Choice policy and was the founding chair of ASIC’s Corporate Social Responsibility program.

Delia is a former head of the ACCC’s then Consumer Protection Branch and was a member of the secretariat to the Wallis inquiry into the regulation of Australia’s financial system.

She is a trustee of the Jan Pentland Foundation—an organisation dedicated to providing scholarships for those who want to work as financial counsellors—and a judge for the annual MoneySmart Week awards. She is also a pro bono director of Fairtrade Australia New Zealand and chair of Good Shepherd’s Advisory Committee on Financial Inclusion Action Plans.

In the January 2011 Australia Day Awards Delia was awarded the Public Service Medal for her contribution to consumer protection and financial services.

Delia is a member of the ACCC’s Enforcement Committee, Adjudication Committee, Communications Committee and Enforcement Committee—Strategic Compliance. She is also Co-chair of the ACCC’s Consumer Consultative Committee.

Delia holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Law from the University of New South Wales.

Dr Michael Schaper

Dr Michael Schaper’s work has a special focus on small business, franchising, industry associations and business liaison with the national competition and consumer protection regulator. Michael was first appointed a Commissioner of the ACCC in July 2008.

A previous president of the Small Enterprise Association of Australia and New Zealand, he has also previously served as Small Business Commissioner for the Australian Capital Territory, chairperson of the ACT Small & Micro-Business Advisory Council and a director of the International Council for Small Business. In 2009 he received the ‘National Small Business Champion Award’ from the Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia. Michael is also a Fellow of the Institute of Public Accountants, and a divisional councillor with the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Michael has previously managed a community small business centre; been an adviser to government at both state and federal level; and held lecturing, professorial and dean roles at a number of Australian universities. He is currently an Adjunct Professor with Curtin University and a senior honorary research fellow at the University of Western Australia, and chairs the advisory board of Griffith University’s Asia-Pacific Centre for Franchising Excellence. He holds a PhD and a Master of Commerce, as well as a Bachelor of Arts. His latest books are Competition law and SMEs in the Asia-Pacific; Entrepreneurship and small business: Asia-Pacific; and Governments, SMEs and entrepreneurship development. Dr Schaper is a member of the ACCC’s enforcement and adjudication committees.


Ms Cristina Cifuentes

Cristina Cifuentes was appointed a Commissioner of the ACCC in May 2013 for a five-year term.

Cristina has a breadth of experience in both the public and private sectors across public policy, finance and utility regulation, including positions at the Reserve Bank of Australia, the New South Wales Treasury and the Australian Securities Commission. She served as the state part-time member of the AER between 2010 and 2013. She was a member of the New South Wales Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal between 1997 and 2006.

Cristina is chair of the ACCC’s Communications Committee and Infrastructure Committee. She oversees the ACCC’s regulatory role in relation to key infrastructure in areas such as telecommunications, wheat ports, rail, and water. She is also the Commonwealth member of the AER Board, which has responsibility for regulating the national electricity and gas markets.

Before becoming an ACCC Commissioner, Cristina held a number of directorships including with the Hunter Water Corporation and First State Super Trustee Corporation.

Cristina holds a first-class honours degree in law and a degree in economics.

Ms Sarah Court

Sarah Court was appointed a Commissioner of the ACCC in April 2008 and was reappointed for a further five year term in 2013. She is also an Associate Commissioner of the New Zealand Commerce Commission.

Sarah is a full-time commissioner, and a former senior executive lawyer and director with the Australian Government Solicitor. She brings to her role extensive experience in Commonwealth legal work, including restrictive trade practices, consumer protection and law enforcement litigation.

Sarah oversees the ACCC’s enforcement and litigation program and is chair of the Enforcement Committee and the Legal Committee. She takes an active role in the Commission’s enforcement and compliance work and engages closely with investigating teams and lawyers on Commission policies and enforcement investigations. Sarah also sits on the Merger Review Committee, the Adjudication Committee and the Infrastructure Committee.

Sarah holds a Bachelor of Arts (Jurisprudence) and a Bachelor of Law (Honours) from the University of Adelaide as well as a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the Australian National University.

Mr Roger Featherston

Roger Featherston was appointed a Commissioner of the ACCC in June 2014.

Roger is a full-time Commissioner who brings a wealth of experience from his previous roles as a lawyer in the private and public sectors. Roger was formerly a partner at Mallesons Stephen Jaques, leading the firm’s competition law team and advising a broad spectrum of commercial and governmental clients on competition law and enforcement issues, consumer protection, informal merger clearances, access and pricing issues, and telecommunications matters.

In addition to this extensive private sector experience, Roger acted for the former Trade Practices Commission early in his career and, for the two years before his appointment, acted as Special Counsel at the ACCC advising on a range of major competition and consumer protection matters.

Roger is a life member and former Chairman of the Business Law Section of the Law Council of Australia, and a member and former Chairman of the Competition and Consumer Law Committee of the Law Council of Australia.

Roger is chair of the ACCC’s Mergers Committee and Adjudication Committee. He is also a member of the ACCC’s Enforcement Committee and Communications Committee.

Roger holds a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and a Bachelor of Economics from the Australian National University.

Mr Mick Keogh

Mick Keogh was appointed as a Commissioner of the ACCC in February 2016 for a five year term.

The ACCC has established an Agriculture Unit that contains additional staff to conduct investigations and engagement in rural and regional areas with funding provided through the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper.

Mick plays a key role in the work of the Agriculture Unit, which identifies competition and fair trading issues in agriculture markets and engages with a range of key industry groups. He oversees the ACCC’s agriculture work program and chairs the ACCC’s Agriculture Board and Agriculture Consultative Committee. Mick also plays a key decision making role on agriculture matters across the work of the ACCC.

Mick has a long and diverse history of involvement with the agriculture sector, which has included periods of employment as a farm manager, a university researcher, an agribusiness consultant and an agriculture policy advisor.

In 2003 Mick was appointed Executive Director of the Australian Farm Institute, an independent policy research institute that conducts research into strategic policy issues of importance to Australian agriculture. Mick continues to undertake this role.

In 2011 Mick was appointed Chairperson of the Australian Government panel which reviewed drought support measures. He was also Chairman of the Australian Government’s National Rural Advisory Council from 2012 to 2015.

Additionally, Mick remains involved in family farming interests in southern New South Wales.

Mick was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for services to agriculture in 2015. He holds bachelors and masters degrees in wool and pastoral science, both obtained at the University of New South Wales.

Australian Energy Regulator

The Chair of the AER Board is Paula Conboy. The board of the AER has two members.

Table 4.2: Terms of appointment—current AER members at 30 June 2017


Paula Conboy

30 September 2019


Cristina Cifuentes

29 May 2018

Jim Cox

25 June 2020



Ms Paula Conboy

On 21 July 2014, Paula Conboy was appointed as the full-time state/territory member and AER Chair for a five-year period from 1 October 2014.

Paula has over 20 years’ experience in public utility regulation in Australia and Canada. She has held roles at the Industry Commission, Sydney Water Corporation and Ontario electricity distribution utility PowerStream Inc. Most recently she was a full-time member of the Ontario Energy Board in Canada from March 2010, where she oversaw policy development and adjudicated applications for cost of service, performance-based regulation, mergers and acquisitions, and leave to construct electricity and gas networks. She was an active member of CAMPUT: Canada’s Energy and Utility Regulators and chaired its 2013 annual conference. She is also a mentor with the International Confederation of Energy Regulators’ Women in Energy initiative.

Paula holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in agricultural economics from the University of Guelph and conducted her thesis research at La Trobe University.


Ms Cristina Cifuentes

Cristina is appointed as the Commonwealth’s appointee to the Board of the AER.

See ACCC members for a full biography.

Mr Jim Cox

On 23 May 2017 Jim Cox was reappointed as a full-time state/territory member of the AER Board for a further three-year term. Jim was initially appointed in an acting capacity in September 2013 and confirmed in the role for three years from 26 June 2014.

Jim has held positions with the Reserve Bank of Australia, the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Social Welfare Policy Secretariat of the Department of Social Security. He was a principal economist at the Office of EPAC between 1986 and 1989, and between 1989 and 1992 was a consultant to the New South Wales Cabinet Office. Jim was Principal Adviser to the Government Pricing Tribunal of New South Wales from 1992 and was a member of the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) from January 1996 to September 2013. He was Acting Chairman of IPART during 2004, 2009–10 and 2011 and a visiting fellow at Monash University during 1985.

Jim assisted the New Zealand Government with social policy changes during the early part of 1991 and has written extensively on economic and social policy issues. This work has been published by, among others, the New Zealand Business Roundtable and the Centre for Independent Studies.

He was awarded the Public Service Medal in the Australia Day honours list in 2011 for outstanding public service to IPART.