Catherine Livingstone AO

Honorary Doctor of Science

Citation delivered by Professor Judy Raper, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) at the University of Wollongong on the occasion of the admission of Catherine Brighid Livingstone as a Doctor of Science (honoris causa) on 18 December 2015.

Chancellor, I present Catherine Livingstone.

Catherine Livingstone is a standard bearer for innovation and for bringing innovative thinking into how we manage ourselves, our institutions, and our hopes for the future. She is a preeminent business leader whose roles have encompassed finance, governance and management, culminating in her current appointment as the President of the Business Council of Australia, and from these positions she has connected her vision of how things might be done better to how the world might be a better place for all. Her commitment to innovation is second to none.

Catherine was born in Nairobi before immigrating with her family to Australia in the 1960s. She studied accountancy at Macquarie University, graduating with first class honours, and was soon a Chartered Accountant with Price Waterhouse. Catherine has been a Director of Telstra since 2000 and was elected Telstra Board Chairman in 2009. She is also a Director of WorleyParsons Limited, the George Institute for Global Health and Saluda Medical Proprietaries Limited, and is also President of the Australian Museum Trust.

Catherine was the CEO and Managing Director of Cochlear Limited from 1994 to 2000, successfully taking that company to market in 1995. The Cochlear Implant has improved the quality of life of many people around the world. In the time that Catherine led the company, there were significant product innovations that brought the audible world to those to whom it might have been lost forever.

Catherine was the Chairman of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation from 2001 to 2006 and was, until recently, a member of the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Council. She has taken on many government assignments over recent years, including as a Member of the Advisory Panel for the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper and a Member of the National Innovation Systems Review Panel.

Catherine was awarded the Centenary Medal for service to Australian society in business leadership, and in 2008 was awarded the Officer of the Order of Australia for service ‘to the development of Australian science, technology and innovation policies, to the business sector through leadership and management roles and as a contributor to professional organisations’.

Catherine has spoken publicly of the need to improve gender diversity on corporate boards, provide supportive and flexible workplaces for women and acknowledge unconscious biases in recruitment. She has also spoken of the central role design plays in how we recognise and implement solutions to problems: human problems, system problems and management problems; suggesting that strong design skills enable better commercialisation and stronger controls over unintended consequences.

It is a significant privilege for our University to award Catherine an Honorary Doctorate of Science, to add to the laurels already borne so modestly. Indeed, just recently it was announced that Catherine has been chosen to become the new Chancellor of the University of Technology Sydney. We wish her well in this role; knowing that the larger the part Catherine plays in Australian Higher Education the stronger it will become.

Today we applaud Catherine Livingstone’s achievements and welcome her as a permanent member of our University community. Chancellor, for her commitment to innovation and leadership, it is a privilege and pleasure to present Catherine Livingstone for a Doctor of Science, honoris causa.