The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) is an independent statutory authority. ASQA has three Commissioners, who are appointed by the Governor-General for up to five years.
ASQA employees support the Commissioners in their regulatory function, and together the Commissioners and employees form the Authority.
For the purposes of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013, the Chief Commissioner is also ASQA's Chief Executive Officer and is responsible for ASQA's management and administration.
Mark Paterson AO
Chief Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer
Mr Mark Paterson AO has extensive experience across government and industry, including experience leading government departments at both the state and federal levels. Mr Paterson is a former Secretary of the NSW Department of Trade and Investment, Regional Infrastructure and Services; the Australian Government Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research; and the Australian Government Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources.
Mr Paterson commenced as a Commissioner of ASQA on 30 May 2016, and commenced as Chief Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer from 1 January 2017.
Ms Saxon Rice
Deputy Chief Commissioner and Commissioner, Risk, Intelligence and Regulatory Support
Ms Saxon Rice has extensive experience across the VET and employment services sectors as well as the public policy process. Ms Rice previously held a range of senior government, VET and management positions. She was Assistant Minister for Technical and Further Education in the former Queensland Government from 2012 to 2015, and Chair of the then Ministerial Industry Commission responsible for industry engagement.
Ms Rice is a former Director of Global Business Development for an Australian employment services company and was responsible for significant growth into new countries in the European and Asian markets. Ms Rice has also served in a range of Senate Committee Secretariats, including as Acting Secretary and Principal Research Officer to the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee. More recently, Ms Rice was a Member of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal from 2016 to 2018 and she is a Member and Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Ms Rice commenced as a Commissioner of ASQA on 16 April 2018.
Dr Irene Ioannakis
Commissioner, Regulatory Operations
Dr Irene Ioannakis has extensive experience in the disciplines of vocational education and training (VET), secondary and tertiary education and human resources management. Dr Ioannakis’ most recent position was Chief Executive Officer of Ioannakis and Associates. Prior to running her own consultancy business, Dr Ioannakis was employed by Chevron as the Australian Business Unit Manager - Organisational Capability and Development and, prior to this role, Dr Ioannakis was the inaugural Director of the GE Oil and Gas Skills Development Centre.
Dr Ioannakis is a former Managing Director and Executive General Manager responsible for expanding the Caterpillar Institute (now the WesTrac Institute), a registered training organisation, specialising in the heavy vehicle mechanical trade area. During this phase of her career, Dr Ioannakis was promoted to Executive General Manager – Human Resources. She also served as the Director – Safety, Education and Training at the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia, was a member of the Training Accreditation Council (TAC) in Western Australia for almost 18 years, and served on the Curtin Business School of Management Advisory Board. Dr Ioannakis is currently a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management (FAIM).
Dr Ioannakis commenced as a Commissioner of ASQA on 11 September 2017.