Welcome Chief People Officer David Ward


“With David’s appointment we made the very conscious decision to change the role title to Chief People Officer. We did this to signal our emphasis on ‘people’ and to reflect the next evolution of HR, building on its strong foundation. David’s role will be people centric, encompassing more than traditional human resources functions and focussing on people strategy across the whole University Group” says Nicole Gower, Vice-President, Professional Services.

Having commenced in early June, we were keen to catch up with David to find out more about his well-established HR experience and what he values most as a leader and in life.

You have had an extensive career in higher education HR, most significantly as Vice-President, Human Resources at UNSW. What does it take to deliver excellent HR services at a university?

HR covers a broad range of activities including delivery of operational services, driving an enhanced staff experience and working as a strategic partner with University leaders to enable them to deliver outstanding education, research and professional services. The best HR teams I’ve been part of have had a very strong service ethos based on being knowledgeable about the University, being visible and responsive to our customers, taking ownership of matters and by working together as one HR team in order to bring our collective expertise to support the University in the best way possible.

What at Macquarie are you most impressed by or excited about?

Macquarie has a lot to be proud of. An excellent strategy and operational plan, terrific people, collaborative leadership, and a growing international reputation. It also has a beautiful campus – I’m not sure how many people outside of Macquarie know about that! While the last couple of years have been challenging, the operational changes that Macquarie has made will sustain it well into the future.

What are you most looking forward to about being the Chief People Officer at Macquarie?

Working with the HR team to take it to its next stage of development is something I’m really looking forward to. We have a great opportunity to play a key role in enabling the University to achieve its ambitious vision, including by looking at what the overall employee experience should be and how staff at Macquarie work together to achieve our aspirations.

I’m also looking forward to one of the real privileges of the role, which is to meet and get to know a lot of our people. It really is inspirational to learn about what our staff are doing every day to transform the lives of students and people around the world.

How would you describe yourself as a leader – what qualities and values do you strive for personally, and what qualities and values do you try to encourage in your teams?

The people who I have led tend to describe me as calm, considered, inclusive and someone who supports them to be at their best.

I certainly try and bring complete integrity and a respectful approach to all that I do, which I also encourage within my teams.

In HR you are often called on to work with people who are experiencing some significant challenges in their work life or personal life and a high degree of care and empathy is crucial to doing your job well.

What can you tell us about your background that influenced your approach to life and work?

I have been very lucky in my life – firstly through having parents who instilled a strong work ethic and the values that I’ve talked about. In my working life I have been fortunate to have been influenced by some terrific mentors – many informal – who encouraged and supported me to learn and develop. As a more experienced leader myself, I take the responsibility to help others to grow very seriously, particularly those who have not had the same advantages that I’ve had in life.

Any personal interests/hobbies you’d like to share?

I have two teenage children, so spending time with them is very important to me. Aside from that I love to travel and to keep fit and healthy. In summer I play cricket – my teammates and I are all well past our best so we’re in it for enjoyment rather than results. I’m also trying to do the weekly Park Run at Haberfield – if any Macquarie staff see me down there, please say hello!





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