Our Leaders

Board of directors

John Brogden


Appointed January 2012

John Brogden is currently the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Prior to this, John was CEO of the Financial Services Council from 2009 to 2015. He has also been CEO of Manchester Unity and the Chairman of Abacus Australian Mutuals. From 1996 to 2005, John was the Member for Pittwater in the NSW Parliament. In 2002, John was elected Leader of the Opposition – the youngest person ever to hold the role and lead a major political party in Australia.

In January 2014, John was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to the community through representational roles with social welfare organisations, particularly Lifeline, to the business and financial sectors and to the Parliament of New South Wales.

John is the Chairman of Lifeline Australia, Furlough House Retirement Village, The Broken Bay Institute, and a former Non-Executive Director of NIA (trading as health.com.au). John is also the patron of Sailability Pittwater, Bilgola Surf Lifesaving Club, Avalon Beach Surf Lifesaving Club, and Kookaburra Kids.

John is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and holds a Masters of Public Affairs from the University of Sydney.

Robert Hamilton


Appointed February 2011

Over the course of his career Robert has been involved in a number of major urban renewal projects throughout Australia and NSW including Walsh Bay and the Olympic Village. He has also overseen the development of more than 25,000 residential dwellings as well as many commercial office buildings, shopping centres, hotels and industrial complexes.

Robert is an Advisory Board Member for the Salvation Army and advises a number of charitable organisations. He is regularly called on to provide property advice across the development industry. Robert is a Fellow of the Australian Property Institute and a member of the Real Estate Institute of Australia.

Suzanne Jones


Appointed June 2016

Suzanne Jones brings to the Board expertise in infrastructure planning and development, environment and sustainability, and organisational transformation and business growth. She has held senior executive roles involving strategic planning, major project delivery, public-private partnerships and stakeholder management, both with the NSW Government and in the private sector.

Suzanne is currently the Chair of Dial Before You Dig, the founding Chair of Waste Aid Ltd, and a director of the University of New England Partnerships Pty Ltd. She is also a member and former chair of the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Council and a committee member of the Australian Astronomical Observatory. Suzanne’s previous directorships include Transgrid, the NSW Public Transport Authority, Parramatta Rail Link Company Pty Ltd, Newcastle Urban Renewal and Transport, the Illawarra Regional Information Service and Garrigal Housing.

Suzanne is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a member of the Planning Institute of Australia. She holds a Bachelor of Town Planning with honours from the University of NSW, a Master of Business Administration from the University of Rochester, New York and has undertaken a business leadership course at Harvard.

Ken Maher


Appointed December 2014

Ken Maher is an architect, landscape architect, and urban design advocate. He is a former executive chairman of HASSELL, Australia’s largest international multidisciplinary design practice.

Ken is currently a HASSELL Fellow and a Professor of Practice in the Faculty of Built Environment at the University of NSW. He is also a Director of the Australian Institute of Architects Foundation, CRC for Low Carbon Living, and IBL Limited. He is Chair of the City of Sydney’s Urban Design Advisory Panel, and a member of the Sydney Opera House Eminent Architects Panel and the Transport for NSW Urban Domain Reference Group.

Ken is the National President, a Director, and a Life Fellow of the Australian Institute of Architects, and President of the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council. He is also a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects, the Australian Property Institute, and the Green Building Council of Australia. Ken holds a Bachelor of Architecture with first class honours, a Masters of Architecture, a Graduate Diploma of Landscape Design, and a Graduate Diploma of Environmental Studies. In 2009, Ken was awarded the Australian Institute of Architects Gold Medal.

Gai McGrath


Appointed June 2016

Gai McGrath has an extensive background in highly regulated, large scale businesses over a career spanning 30 years. She spent 12 years at Westpac Banking Group, most recently leading Westpac Australia’s Retail Banking business. She also led the Retail Banking business for Westpac New Zealand, and the Customer Service business and Risk Solutions team for BT Financial Group. Prior to joining Westpac, Gai was the General Counsel and Company Secretary of Perpetual Limited.

Gai is currently a director of IMB Bank, a member of the Council of the State Library of NSW, a director and trustee of the State Library of NSW Foundation and a member of The Salvation Army’s Territorial Appeals and Fundraising Committee.

She is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, has completed the Insead Business School International Executive Program, and also holds a Masters of Laws (Distinction), a Bachelor of Laws (Hons), and a Bachelor of Arts.

Karen Penrose


Appointed August 2014

Karen Penrose has over 30 years business experience across finance, property, and resources, including 20 years in banking with CBA and HSBC Bank Australia.

More recently, she has held Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer roles with Wilson HTM Investment Group and Keybridge Capital. Karen is a Non-Executive Director of Federation Limited, AWE Limited, Spark Infrastructure Group, Federation Centres, Future Generation Global Investment Company Limited, and Marshall Investments Pty Ltd. She is a former Non-Executive Director of Novion Limited and Silver Chef Limited.

Karen is a member of CPA Australia, a Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and holds a Bachelor of Commerce.

Matthew Quinn


Appointed August 2013

Matthew Quinn was the Managing Director of Stockland from 2000 to 2013. Matthew’s management career with Stockland spanned 12 years, and he has an extensive background in commercial, retail, industrial and residential property investment and development. Matthew is a Non-Executive Director of CSR Limited and Chairman of Carbonxt Group Limited.

He is actively involved in education initiatives for disadvantaged students, and is a Director of the Australian Business and Community Network Foundation. Matthew is a Charted Accountant, and a Fellow of the Australian Property Institute, and of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors. He has a first class honours degree in Chemistry and Management Science from Imperial College, London.

Corporate Management Team

David Pitchford

Chief Executive

David was appointed Chief Executive Officer of UrbanGrowth NSW in September 2013. David oversees the direction and ambition of the organisation, and interfaces with portfolio ministers and the Board. He has more than 35 years of experience as the head of public and private organisations.

In 2007 David was General Manager of Palm Jumeirah City in Dubai, one of the world’s most ambitious development projects. His most recent role was as the Executive Director and Head of Profession, Project Management, for the United Kingdom’s Major Projects Authority.

David began his career in the Office of the Tasmanian Governor and then moved into Chief Executive Officer roles with the Australian Centenary of Federation and the City of Melbourne. He was also Chief Operating Officer of the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games.

David has been recognised as a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) and Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order (LVO).

Julian Frecklington

Chief Operating Officer

Julian joined UrbanGrowth NSW in January 2013 as Head of Strategy, and was appointed Chief Operating Officer in April 2015.

Julian is responsible for establishing the strategy for UrbanGrowth NSW, and for building the organisational capabilities and funding platform to deliver it.

Julian has over 15 years experience in the real estate sector and a diverse background in strategy, property, and law. He has worked for a number of Australia’s leading developers including Stockland and Multiplex Brookfield, and has held senior management positions in funds management, business development, and project delivery. Julian has also worked as a finance lawyer at Clayton Utz and as a strategy consultant at Bain & Company.

Julian holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours 1), Bachelor of Laws, Masters of Business Administration, and is a Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. He has also completed the Harvard Leadership Program for Senior Executives.

Michael Brodie

Chief Finance Officer

Michael joined UrbanGrowth NSW in March 2010 as the Chief Financial Officer and manages the finance, risk, IT, procurement, and business service functions.

Michael is an experienced CFO with over 25 years of senior financial and commercial experience in investment, aged care, and property development organisations. Michael previously held senior finance positions including National Manager – Property Finance at Woolworths Limited, DCA Aged Care, and RG Capital.

Michael has a Bachelor of Economics, and a Graduate Certificate in Financial Planning. He is also a Chartered Accountant and a Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Matthew Beggs

Head of Western Sydney Projects Portfolio

Matthew Beggs is the Head of Western Sydney Projects Portfolio, and oversees the organisation’s greenfields development activities. Matthew has over 29 years experience in the property and development industry, with extensive experience in the planning and delivery of large development projects, major property transactions, business development and relationship management.

Matthew joined UrbanGrowth NSW in 2002 as part of the Business Development Team, before moving into Urban Development in 2005 where he worked on the One Minto and Oran Park Town projects. He was appointed as General Manager Development Retail in 2014.

Prior to working at UrbanGrowth NSW Matthew was at the Department of Defence for 6 years in senior roles managing rezoning, preparation, and disposal of major Defence sites in Sydney. He also spent 7 years with Australian Property Group working in various roles consulting to Federal Government clients for planning approvals, sales, leasing and acquisitions.

Matthew has a Graduate Diploma in Urban Estate Management and a Masters of Project Management.

Steve Driscoll

Acting Head of CBD Projects Portfolio

Steve joined UrbanGrowth NSW in July 2004 and is presently acting in the position of Head of CBD Projects, where he is responsible for overseeing the delivery of several major projects within the urban transformation portfolio.

Steve has 25 years experience across the property and government sectors, working for state and local government organisations including Blacktown City Council, the Department of Planning and Environment and UrbanGrowth NSW. Steve's most recent role was as General Manager, UrbanGrowth NSW Development Corporation. He has also previously worked in sustainability, project planning and town planning roles at a senior management level.

Steve has a Bachelor of Town Planning (Honours 1; University Medal), obtained from the University of NSW.

Jillian Khoo

General Counsel

Jillian was appointed as General Counsel in January 2015. Jillian is the organisation’s key legal adviser, and leads a team of solicitors and paralegals.

Jillian has worked across multiple Australian jurisdictions and a variety of real estate sectors. She has a strong background in project specific financing, development, and joint ventures, with expertise in managing a variety of internal and external stakeholders including government.

Jillian spent eight years with Australand, most recently as the National Head of Legal Services for the Residential Division, and previously as the General Manager Legal - Corporate. She worked at Mallesons Stephen Jacques (now King and Wood Mallesons) for nine years, specialising in structured property finance, capital partnerships and development. Jillian holds a Bachelor of Laws, and a Bachelor of Arts (Politics).

John Richmond

General Manager, Commercial Management & Business

John joined UrbanGrowth NSW in April 2015 as General Manager, Commercial Management & Business Development.

John leads the Commercial Management and Business Development functions of UrbanGrowth NSW, and works across acquisitions, project commercialisation, investment reviews, business strategy and capital transactions.

John has 15 years experience in the property industry spanning architecture, property development and investment banking. John spent 9 years as a Lead Real Estate Equities Analyst at Credit Suisse and Merrill Lynch, and also worked at Stockland as a Development Manager and on acquisitions.

John holds a Masters of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Architecture, and is a member of the Assets and Finance Committee for the not-for-profit group Achieve Australia.

Lisa Rippon-Lee

Head of Communications & Stakeholder Engagement

Lisa joined UrbanGrowth NSW in March 2014, and is responsible for corporate communications and stakeholder engagement, working to position the organisation as the lead government agency in the delivery of urban transformation projects.

Lisa is an experienced communications and corporate marketing professional, having spent more than 20 years in corporate affairs. Lisa has worked in a range of multinational corporations across many industry sectors, stakeholder groups, markets, languages, and cultures. Lisa’s previous roles have included senior positions in communications and corporate affairs at Glencore Xstrata, Lend Lease, and The Nielsen Company.

David Tow

Head of Strategy

David has a Bachelor of Town Planning (Hons) and a Masters of Public Policy and over 25 years experience in the implementation of major urban development and infrastructure projects in Australia and Asia. Most recently David held the role of Executive Director – Cities for the NSW Department of Premier & Cabinet. Prior positions include Asia Pacific COO for Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation, focussed on the delivery of urban development and transport infrastructure projects for agencies including the World Bank and Asian Development Bank; CEO of a small investment business supporting renewable energy projects; and Project Director for large urban planning and development projects including the Port Moresby and Kuala Lumpur Master Plans.

Simone Westcott

General Manager, Human Resources

Simone was appointed as General Manager, Human Resources, in September 2012. Simone has more than 15 years experience in human resources spanning a number of industries including hospitality, financial services, and property.

Simone commenced her human resources career with Stamford Hotels before transitioning into the property industry and working at Jones Lang LaSalle for seven years in roles including Associate Director, HR.

In 2007, Simone was at ING Real Estate as Head of Human Resources, a position that encompassed the development, commercial banking, and investment management businesses. Simone has proven experience in a range of human resources disciplines including strategy, change management, business restructuring, payroll transition, and recruitment and selection.

Simone has a Diploma of Human Resource Management, and Advanced Certificate of Hospitality and Catering.