Former AustralianSuper marketing chief becomes CEO of Food and Wine Victoria

CEO appointment comes as the festival organiser gains an expanded remit for promoting the Victorian food and wine industry

Georgina Williams
Georgina Williams

AustralianSuper’s former group executive for marketing, Georgina Williams, has become the new CEO of Food and Wine Victoria as the event organiser and promotional body gains an expanded remit.

Williams replaces former CEO, Natalie O’Brien, who resigned in May after 16 years at the helm to pursue new opportunities in the food, wine and tourism sector.  Williams was most recently the group executive for engagement, advocacy and brand at superannuation firm, AustralianSuper, joining the group in January 2014 to oversee marketing strategy and wider customer engagement. She left earlier this year for family reasons.

Prior to AustralianSuper, Williams was the head of brand and marketing for Bank of Melbourne, and has also worked at NAB in marketing, partner engagement and strategic advisory services.  Her resume also includes event partners and management experience in the UK.

In a statement, Food and Wine Victoria chairman, John Haddad AO, said the group had brought in the expertise of Ergon Zehnder to help it conduct a global executive search.

“We believe that the baton of leadership is in the right hands to build on our established success,” he said.

Food and Wine Victoria is best known as the organiser behind the annual Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, which celebrated its 25th anniversary this year. The festival now encompasses more than 300 events and is attended by more than 250,000 patrons each year.

Alongside the news of Williams’ appointment, Haddad announced the organisation will now be responsible for broader promotion of the state’s leadership in the food and wine industry in addition to staging the Melbourne event.

Williams officially takes up the new post on 24 August and said she felt privileged to take the reins for Melbourne’s iconic food and wine festival.

“I’m also excited to work with the Victorian Government and other key stakeholders in growing the influence of this important industry for its impact on tourism, trade and regional development,” she said.

Williams was among the top 50 Australian marketers listed in CMO's annual CMO50 list in 2016.

According to figures quoted by the Ministry for Tourism and Major Events, Victoria’s food and wine industry accounts for in excess of $30 billion annually and about 20 per cent of the state’s GDP.

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