Chancellor Professor Peter Shergold AC

BA (Hull), MA (Illinois), PhD (LSE), Hon. DLitt (UNSW),

The Board of Trustees elected Professor Peter Shergold AC as its chair and the University's new Chancellor in 2010. His term began on 1 January 2011 and has recently been extended until December 2022.

Peter received a B.A. Hons (First Class) in Politics and American Studies from the University of Hull; an M.A. in History at the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle; and a PhD in Economics from London School of Economics. He was awarded a Hon.DLitt from the University of New South Wales in 2017.

Peter migrated to Australia in 1972 to take up a lecturing position at the University of New South Wales. He became Head of the Department of Economic History in 1986. As an academic he received two Fulbright scholarships to study in the U.S.A. He lectured at London School of Economics from 1980-81 and at Pennsylvania State University from 1985-86.

In 1987, Peter became a CEO in the Australian Public Service (APS) for two decades, working with Prime Ministers and Ministers from both sides of politics. His first job was to establish the Office of Multicultural Affairs. From 1991 he headed the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) and from July 1994 he was Chief Executive Officer of Comcare. He was appointed Australian Public Service Commissioner from September 1995 to February 1998. He served as Secretary of the Department of Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business from 1998 until 2002 and then became the Secretary of the Department of Education, Science and Training for a year.

In February 2003, Peter was asked by the Prime Minister, John Howard, to serve as Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, becoming the nation's most senior public servant.  He did so for five years. During that time the so-called 'Shergold Report' (actually the report of the Task Group on Emissions Trading) was presented to – and accepted by – the Commonwealth government, but was never implemented. He managed the transition to government of the new Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, leaving the APS in February 2008.

In addition to his Western Sydney University role Peter served as a non-executive director on the Boards of AMP Ltd and its subsidiaries, AMP Life and AMP Bank from 2008-17. He also served as an external director of Corrs Chambers Westgarth from 2009-16. He presently chairs Opal Healthcare and Joblife, and is a member of O’Connell Street Associates.

In the not-for-profit field he has been the chair of the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation, the deputy chair of the Sydney Writers’ Festival and patron of the Left-Right Think Tank. He was CEO of the Centre for Social Impact from 2008-11 and is now its chair. He was a member of the State Library Council of NSW. Presently he is Chair of the AMP Foundation and Crescent Institute and Patron of the Good Things Institute.

In the government arena he chaired the NSW Public Services Commission Advisory Board. He has been chair of the Aged Care Reform Implementation Council and the Aged Care Sector Committee. He headed the Ministerial Expert Group on Gambling for the Commonwealth Government under Prime Minister Rudd. In Western Australia he was asked to lead the Government/not-for-profit Partnership Forum under Premier Colin Barnett. In 2013 he completed a report on community service sector reform for the Victorian government. He served on the Queensland Public Sector Renewal Board.

He wrote a major report on project management of major government programs, Learning from Failure, which was handed to the Commonwealth government in 2015. He has also chaired reviews into Health Providers’ Access to Medicare Card Numbers in 2017, implementation of the National Construction Code, Building Confidence in 2018 and Integration, Employment and Settlement outcome for Refugees, Investing in Refugees, Investing in Australia, in 2019. He was also chair the Forum on Western Sydney Airport 2017-20.

He is active in education. He chaired the National Centre for Vocational Education Research 2012-18. He was chair of the TEQSA Advisory Council. He also chaired the Commonwealth’s Higher Education Standards Panel 2015-18. He presently Chairs the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA). He has chaired or co-chaired two recent report on education: Looking to the Future (on senior secondary education) in 2020 and In the Same Sentence (on vocational education) in 2021.

Peter was appointed in 2014 as Coordinator General for Refugee Resettlement in NSW. He is now Coordinator General of Settlement.

He was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences (FASSA) in Australia in 2005. He has also been made a Fellow of the Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG), the Institute of Public Administration Australia (IPAA), the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD), the Australian Institute of Management (AIM) and the Royal Society of NSW (FRSN). In 2017 he was elected National President of IPAA for a two-year term.

Peter was made a Member in the Order of Australia (AM) for public service on Australia Day 1996 and was presented with the Centenary Medal in 2003. In 2007, he received Australia's highest award, the Companion in the Order of Australia (AC) for service to the community. Peter continues to speak widely and public articles on public administration, refugee settlement, education and aged care.