Revolving Doors

General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK, CVO, MC (ret'd)

Australian Defence Force | Military | Revolving Doors

Peter Cosgrove was in the Australian Army for forty years, a career that culminated in the top job, Chief of the Defence Force. After retiring from the Defence Force, and before his appointment as Governor-General, Cosgrove developed a portfolio of directorships, which included a previously unrevealed appointment, six years on the Australian board of Leonardo, an Italian multinational and world top 10 arms manufacturer. Leonardo was part of the consortium supplying the ADF with 47 new multi-role helicopters, a project that commenced while Cosgrove was CDF.

Current Positions

  • Director, Australian American Leadership Foundation Limited (1.11.19–present)*

    * From ASIC record (accessed 5.7.20)

Previous Positions

Public
Governor-General of Australia (2014–2019)
Chair, Council of the Australian War Memorial (2007–2012)
Chair (inaugural), Defence SA Advisory Board (22.8.077.2.14)

Corporate
Director, Leading Age Services Australia Limited (19.7.12–28.1.14)*
Association representing aged care services providers

Director, Leonardo Australia Pty Ltd (10.12.07–19.12.13)*
Italian multinational, ranked in top 10 of global arms manufacturers

Director, Rugby Australia Limited (28.4.07–15.4.10)*

Director, Cardno Limited (26.3.07–28.1.14)*
Australian headquartered multinational in infrastructure, engineering and environmental services, including a strong defence sector business

Director, General Sir John Monash Foundation (23.8.05–21.11.08)*
Provides post graduate scholarships to young Australians to pursue their studies internationally

Director, Qantas Airways Limited (6.7.05–28.1.14)*, also director, Qantas Superannuation Limited (14.11.05–28.1.14)*

* From ASIC record (accessed 5.7.20)

Military
Australian Army (19652005), including:

  • Chief of the Australian Defence Force (4.7.02–3.7.05)
  • Chief of Army (2000–2002)
  • Commander, International Task Force East Timor (INTERFET) (1999-2000)
  • Commandant, Royal Military College, Duntroon (1997–1998)

Other
Director, The Prince’s Trust Australia Limited (17.1.13–[March 2014?])*
Chancellor, Australian Catholic University (November 2010–March 2014)^

* Appointment date from ASIC records; The Prince’s Trust has confirmed Cosgrove is no longer a director
^ Appointment date from ASIC records; resignation date confirmed by ACU

Other Positions

  • Australian of the Year, 2001

Related Items

Profiles of Cosgrove in Australia usually contain a selective version of his portfolio of company directorships, generally along the lines of, “Subsequently he accepted positions on several boards, including QANTAS, Cardno and the Australian Rugby Union.” An ABC profile when Cosgrove was appointed Governor-General mentioned only Qantas. To our knowledge, Cosgrove’s board position with Leonardo has not been reported previously.

Leonardo is an Italian multinational corporation, ranked in the world’s top ten arms manufacturers. In Australia it forms part of a consortium of three corporations, led by Airbus Australia Pacific Group, also including GKN Fokker, which supplied the ADF’s multi role helicopters (MRH90). This $4 billion procurement project was plagued with issues and landed on Defence’s projects of concern list. As recently as July 2019 the ADF’s MRH90 helicopter fleet was grounded due to safety concerns. Detailed information is available in ANAO report no 52 (2013-14).

The MRH90 procurement commenced in 2004 when Cosgrove was Chief of the Defence Force. The MRH90 project was still ongoing when, 2½ years after retiring as Defence Force chief, Cosgrove joined the Leonardo Australia board.

See also: Profile of Tony Fraser, closely involved with the MRH90 procurement.

Michael West Email

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