10/05/2021 - 15:01

Forrest steps down as Black Swan chair

10/05/2021 - 15:01

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Francois Witbooi has been appointed chair of Black Swan State Theatre Company of WA, succeeding long-time director Nicola Forrest.

Forrest steps down as Black Swan chair
Nicola Forrest was chair of Black Swan for three years. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira

Francois Witbooi has been appointed chair of Black Swan State Theatre Company of WA, succeeding long-time director Nicola Forrest.

Mr Witbooi, a Business News 40under40 winner, has been deputy chair of Black Swan State Theatre Company since last year and became a board member in 2018.

He is the co-founder and director of Aboriginal-owned Safespear, which provides safety services to the oil and gas sectors.

Prior to co-founding Safespear, he worked at not-for-profit organisation Many Rivers Microfinance and Tshikululu Social Investments.

He has a background in music and arts management and is a classically trained concert pianist.

Mr Witbooi said Mrs Forrest had guided Black Swan State Theatre Company over the past eight years and the board was grateful for her passion.

“As chair, Nicola has distinguished herself as an exceptional steward of the organisation who never flinched in the face of making difficult decisions, through some of the most incredible challenges the organisation has faced in recent times,” Mr Witbooi said.

“Nicola has worked to strengthen Black Swan, by celebrating diversity across the company, including gender parity and indigenous representation and through dedicated artistic representation on the board.”

He said he looked forward to working with Mrs Forrest through her support of the Future Fund, a donations campaign she started in 2017.  

Mrs Forrest served as chair for the past three years and as a board member for five years.

She said she loved her time leading the board of the company.

"From re-embedding the company purpose, vision, and values, to welcoming a new principal partner in Fortescue Metals Group, we have achieved so much," Mrs Forrest said.

"I believe the company is primed for continued growth. I am confident leaving the board in Francois’s capable hands.

"The arts sector is integral to our economy and our community and I am determined to continue working to empower the WA industry to define and support future generations of artists."

The move follows several changes to Black Swan State Theatre Company's board in 2020.

Last year, four new members, Alison Terry, Anna Casellas, Clint Bracknell and Mimi Packer, joined the board. 

Several directors at Black Swan State Theatre Company have links to the Forrest family.

Board treasurer Felicity Gooding is the chief financial officer and chief operating officer of Andrew and Nicola Forrest’s Minderoo Foundation and board member Ms Terry is the director, sustainability and corporate affairs and joint company secretary at Fortescue Metals Group.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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