Working under the supervision of our Chief Executive Officer, our Lead Team’s role is driving our strategic goals in a way that’s in line with our values, Code of Business Conduct and the risk appetite set by our Board. While each member of the team leads a specific part of the business, they also work as a collective to help us achieve our strategy and purpose.
Graham Kerr has been our Chief Executive Officer since October 2014 and is responsible for running all parts of our business. He led South32 through the Demerger from BHP in 2015 and its public listing in three countries and has overseen the development and implementation of our strategy.
Graham is passionate about health, safety and sustainability, with a strong track record in global resource development. He joined BHP in 1994 and was appointed Chief Financial Officer in November 2011. Previously, he was President of Diamonds and Specialty Products and worked in a wide range of operational and commercial roles across BHP.
As President of Diamonds and Specialty Products, Graham was accountable for the Ekati Diamond Mine in Canada, the Richards Bay Minerals Joint Venture in South Africa, diamonds exploration in Angola, the Corridor Sands Project in Mozambique and the development of BHP’s potash portfolio in Canada. Prior to that he held the positions of Chief Financial Officer Stainless Steel Materials, Vice President Finance Diamonds and Finance Director for the Canadian Diamonds Company, all for BHP. In 2004 Graham left BHP for a two-year period when he was General Manager Commercial for Iluka Resources Ltd.
Graham holds a Business degree from Edith Cowan University and studied at Deakin University to become a Certified Practicing Accountant.
Katie Tovich became our Chief Financial Officer in May 2019, having been our Vice President Corporate Affairs and Investor Relations, as well as our Head of Treasury. She’s responsible for Financial Reporting, Management Reporting, Treasury, Business Evaluation, Tax, Investor Relations and Group Assurance.
Katie brings more than 25 years of global experience in the resources sector. Before joining us, she held senior finance and marketing roles at BHP in Australia and Asia, including Vice President Corporate Finance, Head of Finance Worsley Alumina and Vice President Finance Marketing – Carbon Steel Materials. Earlier in her career, she held finance and marketing leadership positions at WMC Resources Limited in Australia and North America.
Katie holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Tasmania and is a member of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand.
Kelly O’Rourke was appointed to the role of Chief Legal and External Affairs Officer in July 2021 and is responsible for Legal, Company Secretary, Business Integrity, Communications, Community, Government and Sustainability Strategy. Prior to this, Kelly was our Chief External Affairs Officer, having been appointed to the Lead Team in November 2020.
Kelly joined South32 in 2016 as Head of Corporate Affairs and Investor Relations and later became Vice President Corporate Affairs. She previously worked at BHP for nine years where she held senior roles in Legal, Business Development, Mergers and Acquisitions and the Office of the Chief Executive.
Kelly has more than 15 years’ experience in the mining industry across legal, commercial, business development, mergers and acquisitions, corporate affairs and community roles, and has worked in Australia, the United Kingdom, Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas.
Kelly holds a Bachelor of Laws (Distinction) from The University of Western Australia and a Bachelor of Commerce from Curtin University.
Simon Collins has been our Chief Development Officer since October 2018. He is responsible for Greenfields Exploration, Industry and Project Evaluation, Acquisitions and Divestments, Integration and Separation, Brazil Alumina and the Hermosa project. He also represents South32 on the Board of Directors of Ambler Metals LLC.
Simon brings over 25 years’ experience in the resources industry in senior leadership and business development roles. Before joining South32, he worked for BHP for more than a decade, providing leadership to the business development teams in Belgium, the United Kingdom, Singapore and Australia. He began his career in mine operations in Australia and South Africa.
Simon holds a Master of Business Administration from London Business School and a Bachelor of Engineering (Mining) from the University of New South Wales.
Vanessa Torres became our Chief Technical Officer in July 2020. She is responsible for innovation and technology, projects, technical stewardship, global business services and our global Health, Safety and Environment teams.
Vanessa joined South32 in August 2018 as Chief Technology Officer. Before this, she was Vice President Operational Infrastructure for BHP Western Australia Iron Ore. She has over 28 years of global mining experience across Australia, Canada, Brazil, Peru and New Caledonia, and has held various senior roles at BHP and Vale in strategy, projects, business development, and operations.
Vanessa holds Doctorate and Master degrees in Minerals Engineering from the University of Sao Paulo, and a Bachelor of Science from the Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil. She was also a Visiting Scholar at the University of British Columbia, Canada, where her research focused on the application of Artificial Intelligence to the mining industry.
Noel Pillay was appointed Chief Operating Officer in October 2021 and is accountable for our operations in Africa and Colombia. Prior to this, Noel was our Vice President Operations at Worsley Alumina where he was responsible for the operation’s safety, production and cost performance. Before his time at Worsley, Noel was Vice President Operations at Hillside Aluminium in South Africa.
Noel joined BHP in 1994 as a Maintenance Engineer at Hillside and has held several leadership roles in Maintenance, Production, Business Improvement and Human Resources in South Africa and Australia. He is a trained Mechanical Engineer and holds a National Higher Diploma from the University of Johannesburg, South Africa.
Brendan Harris became our Chief Human Resources and Commercial Officer in November 2020 and is responsible for our Human Resources, Commodity Marketing and Supply functions.
Previously, he was our Chief Commercial Officer and prior to that our inaugural Chief Financial Officer, looking after Financial Reporting, Management Reporting, Treasury, Business Evaluation, Tax, Corporate Affairs, Investor Relations, Risk and Assurance, and Brazil Alumina – and played a key role in our establishment, Demerger and listing.
Before joining us, Brendan was Head of Investor Relations at BHP, based in the United Kingdom and then Australia, having been Vice President Investor Relations Australasia. During his career, he also held roles in investment banking, including Executive Director Metals and Mining Research at Macquarie Equities.
Brendan holds a Bachelor of Science in Geology and Geophysics from Flinders University.
In July 2020, Jason Economidis became our Chief Operating Officer. He's responsible for our Groote Eylandt Mining Company, Cannington, Illawarra Metallurgical Coal and Worsley Alumina operations. Prior to this, Jason was our Vice President Operations at Illawarra Metallurgical Coal.
Jason is an experienced mining executive having worked in the sector in Australia for more than 25 years. He joined South32 from Orica, where he held the position of Vice President Coal. His responsibility at Orica covered 25 mining operations across Queensland and New South Wales. Jason has held other senior positions in the industry such as General Manager of two large Australian coal operations with Peabody, with Vale Coal Australia as Chief Operating Officer, and with BHP as General Manager of Goonyella-Riverside, Caval Ridge and Vice President Health, Safety, Environment and Community for BHP.
Jason holds a Master of Business Administration (Executive) from the Australian Graduate School of Management.