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Kathy Hirschfeld is an experienced Chair and Non-executive director having served on listed, government and private company boards in the energy, utilities and manufacturing industries. Kathy’s senior executive career consisted of 20 years with BP in Australia, United Kingdom and Turkey. She was Managing Director of the BP Bulwer Island Refinery in Brisbane, and of BP’s joint venture refinery in Turkey. She is currently Chair at Powerlink Queensland and a director of Central Petroleum, Queensland Urban Utilities, and Tellus Holdings. She was a Senator of the University of Queensland for 10 years, and President/Board member of UN Women Australian National Committee for 8 years until 2019. Her previous directorships include Toxfree Solutions Ltd., Energy Queensland Ltd, InterOil Corporation, Broadspectrum, Snowy Hydro Ltd, the Queensland Reconstruction Authority and ASC Pty Ltd (Australian Submarine Corporation).
Kathy served for 20 years as an officer in the Australian Army Reserve which gave her extensive and unique leadership experience which continued to develop during her executive career. Kathy is passionate about leadership development and the power of both coaching and mentoring to enable leaders to achieve outstanding business and personal outcomes, often beyond what they imagine is possible.
In her career with BP, Kathy led businesses in oil refining, logistics, exploration and production. At Bulwer Island Refinery, she developed and led a Leadership Development program which enabled the business unit to deliver outstanding performance with record financial, HSE and Availability results. Many of the participants rated the program highly as they became outstanding leaders both individually and a leadership team. In Turkey, Kathy was responsible for all aspects of refinery operations and performance while also leading a review of future options for the business. Kathy was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in 2019. She has been recognised as one of The Australian Financial Review and Westpac Women of Influence and an Honorary Fellow of Engineers Australia, and is a Fellow of the Academy of Technology and Engineering, the Australian Institute of Company Directors and of the Institution of Chemical Engineers.
Kathy enjoys opera, ballet, horseracing and watching the Queensland Reds rugby union team play. She loves travelling and visits Venice regularly to watch a friend paint. She is a keen swimmer.
“To have the help and support of a mentor who has ‘been there and done that’ is critical and in that respect, [my mentor] was the perfect mentoring partner for me”