Mr Willett has had an extensive career as one of the country’s top public servants; a leading business administrator and company director with interests in agricultural management, consumer affairs, superannuation and insurance and Indigenous affairs.
With a career spanning top level management, Mr Willett also has a strong affinity with regional and rural issues. Since 1999 he has been Mayor of Gunning Shire in regional NSW, where he and his wife Helen, run sheep and cattle on two Southern Tableland properties at Gundaroo and Currawong. Mr Willett is a strong advocate for regional Australia and the need for educational opportunities as a driver of regional development and growth.
He has held the positions of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Commonwealth Superannuation Investment Trust, Managing Director of the Health Insurance Commission, Commissioner of the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories, Deputy Secretary of the Departments of Business and Consumer Affairs, and Industry and Commerce.
Concurrent with the above activities, he was foundation board member of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commercial Development Corporation and the Indigenous Land Corporation. His current business appointments include Chairman of Gungahlin Development Authority, Chairman of Jupiters Ltd, and non executive Director of ANZ Executors and Trustees Company Ltd. For the past 18 years he has been Chairman of Radford College, an independent secondary school and college in Canberra.
Mr Willett will be Charles Sturt University’s second Chancellor, taking over from David Asimus AO, from December this year. He will preside at University Council meetings ensuring appropriate guidance and advice is provided by that body. His public roles will include conferring awards and presiding at the University’s graduation ceremonies.
In announcing the election of the new Chancellor, CSU Deputy Chancellor Anne Brassil congratulated Mr Willett on his acceptance of the position and spoke of the important times ahead for higher education with major reforms to be announced by the Federal Government early in the new year.
Mr Willett said he is looking forward to his role as Chancellor of Charles Sturt University at this important time.
“I am aware of Charles Sturt University’s position and high regard both in the region and across the sector. As a seat of learning it is a highly competitive University, and plays a pivotal role in regional development. From a business perspective this offers an excellent platform for future development and innovation, and I look forward to being part of this strong and promising future,” he said.
“I would like to join those who have acknowledged the Foundation Chancellor, Mr David Asimus, and management and staff of the University, for the wonderful work that has been done in so successfully establishing Charles Sturt University.”
Mr Willett will preside over his first meeting of the Charles Sturt University Council in March 2003, to be held at the Bathurst Campus.