Technology Council of Australia names Kate Pounder as inaugural CEO

30 August 2021 Consultancy.com.au 2 min. read
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Public policy expert and former Accenture and McKinsey consultant Kate Pounder has been named as the inaugural CEO of the newly-formed industry body, the Technology Council of Australia.

The formed Technology Council will serve as the peak industry body in Australia, providing research, engagement and public policy advice and advocacy with the aim of growing the nation’s tech industry to a value of almost $250 billion over the next decade – a figure far greater than the current worth of the finance industry. The council also wants to boost sector employment from ~860,000 to more than one million jobs by 2025.

According to Accenture research, the sector’s direct and indirect economic contribution has increased 79 percent over the past five years, outpacing average growth by a factor of four to today contribute $167 billion to the Australian economy – or equivalent to 8.5 per cent of GDP. This would place ‘technology’ as the third most valuable industry in the country, behind only mining and finance. As it stands, it’s the seventh largest employer.

Kate Pounder, CEO, Technology Council of Australia

Fuelling the council’s vision is a board representing some of the biggest local industry players, including Atlassian’s Scott Farquhar, and Anthony Eisen, co-founder and CEO of Afterpay, which recently sold to Square for $39 billion in Australia’s largest ever deal. The Australian arms of Google and Microsoft are also founding council members, with Tesla chairperson Robyn Denholm – Elon Musk’s successor – serving as the board’s chair.

“While we have a lot of uncertainty across the rest of the economy, technology has succeeded despite this uncertainty,” Denholm said. “Crucially, it is an enabler of all other sectors, helping mining, agriculture, banking, and health drive new growth and productivity. As we rebuild our economy in the years ahead, the technology sector has the potential to contribute more to GDP than either primary industries or manufacturing.”

Pounder, a public policy and research specialist, will meanwhile act as CEO. With a public service background in media and broadcasting, Pounder also brings a wealth of consulting experience to the role, including three years at McKinsey & Company, where she among others led the firm’s Australian public sector practice.

From McKinsey, she spent two and a half years as a director at boutique strategy consultancy AlphaBeta prior to its acquisition by Accenture, where she spent a further sixteen months as a managing director.

“The boom in tech-related jobs means there are now more software engineers and developers in Australia than hairdressers, plumbers, or high school teachers,” Pounder said. “That’s 1 in 16 working Australians, who can be found all across the country. This is especially important given the diversity of companies, including 35,200 sole traders, 26,100 businesses with fewer than 20 employees, and 100 large firms of 200+ employees.”