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Nova founder Whalley swaps chair for deputy chair role

Nova founder Whalley swaps chair for deputy chair role
Jim Whalley, left, and new chair Julie Cooper, right

Nova Group founder Jim Whalley has stepped down as chair of the board after more than two decades to become deputy chair.

The switch around means Julie Cooper is now his replacement, after previously joining the engineering business as a non-executive director in July 2017 and becoming interim group CEO in July last year.

During her career as a management consultant for McKinsey & Company, she worked with clients in Australia, the UK, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

She is also on the board of Credit Union South Australia, the Adelaide Crows’ Foundation, Sarah Constructions, and is a council member for the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

“I’m deeply grateful to Jim Whalley for his vision, dedication and passion which has led to the creation of a global engineering and technology company,” said Cooper.

“Equally, I am excited for what the future holds under Jim McDowell’s leadership and experience, which will be critical to our ability to scale and deliver solutions to meet our client’s complex challenges.”

The change in positions follows Nova appointing Jim McDowell to replace Cooper as interim CEO in November.


McDowell joined from South Australia’s Department of the Premier and Cabinet, where he served as chief executive since September 2018.

Prior to this, McDowell served as CEO of BAE Systems Australia, where he oversaw the purchase of Tenix Defence and as in-country CEO of BAE Systems’ $6 billion Saudi Arabian business.

Australian Aviation reported in July how Nova signed up its 300th subcontractor company.

The business agreed a deal with Queensland-based Revolution Aerospace, a startup with a mix of both service and product offerings focused on drones.

“We believe the opportunity to access Nova’s panels and networks alleviates a fairly big business development burden for our company and allows us to concentrate on delivering capability to our clients,” said Revolution Aerospace CEO, Dr Terry Martin.

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