Distinguished Professor Genevieve Bell AO FAHA FTSE has been appointed the next Vice-Chancellor and President of The Australian National University (ANU).

Distinguished Professor Bell will succeed current Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Brian Schmidt AC from 1 January 2024, when Professor Schmidt will return to an academic role as a Distinguished Professor in the ANU College of Science.

Announcing the appointment of Distinguished Professor Bell, ANU Chancellor the Hon Julie Bishop said the University Council was delighted to appoint the outstanding ANU academic as the University’s 13th Vice-Chancellor.

“Genevieve is a compelling and passionate leader, with a deep understanding of the University’s distinctive mission, remarkable legacy, vibrant culture and tremendous assets,” Ms Bishop said.

Distinguished Professor Bell is a public intellectual of global standing, working at the intersection of technology innovation and cultural practice. Her significant domestic and international senior leadership experience spans private and public sectors, and research and teaching at ANU and other institutions.

“With an extensive and distinguished track record, Genevieve offers great leadership and strategic capabilities, which will be critical as the University addresses its distinctive opportunities and responsibilities as Australia’s national university,” Ms Bishop said.

“Since joining ANU, Genevieve has led the design and establishment of the School of Cybernetics which launched successfully in 2021, during the disruption of COVID. Already, it is having meaningful impact, creating new kinds of educational experiences and benefiting from strong linkages and partnerships with public and private sector organisations.”

Genevieve is a compelling and passionate leader, with a deep understanding of the University’s distinctive mission.

ANU Chancellor, the Hon Julie Bishop

Professor Schmidt welcomed the appointment of his colleague who, at his request in 2022, served as interim Dean of the ANU College of Engineering, Computing and Cybernetics (CECC).

“It is with great pleasure that I am able to hand over the leadership of ANU to Genevieve Bell. She is someone who is both a leading intellectual and deeply committed to the values of the University and I know she will do a superb job as Vice-Chancellor,” Professor Schmidt said.

Distinguished Professor Bell has supported innovative research and collaborations across diverse disciplines, including in the First Nations and advancement portfolios, and has enabled measures to bring new technologies to students, through curriculum and in the University facilities.

Commenting on her appointment, Distinguished Professor Bell said: “I’m honoured to be appointed ANU Vice-Chancellor. As Australia’s national university, ANU is a truly unique institution. I’m excited to work alongside talented, committed colleagues, in all parts of the University, to build on our legacy and advance our important national and international mission.”

Professor Bell was appointed by the University Council, pursuant to a selection process managed by the University Chancellor.

As part of the selection process, the Chancellor consulted widely with members of the ANU community, including students, staff, alumni, partners and others, to better understand their priorities for the next ANU Vice-Chancellor.

“It was clear to our selection panel that Genevieve aligns with the University community’s values and vision for ANU. I’m excited that she will be the first woman to hold this position in our history,” Ms Bishop said.

Announcing the appointment of Distinguished Professor Bell, the Chancellor acknowledged the work of the current Vice-Chancellor, who continues in his role until the end of the year.

“Since 2016, Brian has served as ANU Vice-Chancellor with distinction, developing an ambitious strategic plan. Across the University, his leadership has strengthened collegiality, championed interdisciplinary practice and reinforced shared values and behaviours. We’re delighted he will resume teaching and research in astronomy, at the ANU Mount Stromlo Observatory,” Ms Bishop added.

The University looks forward to celebrating Distinguished Professor Bell’s appointment as Vice-Chancellor in the new year.

ANU Pro-Chancellor Ms Naomi Flutter delivers a video message about the appointment of Distinguished Professor Genevieve Bell.

Distinguished Professor Genevieve Bell AO FAHA FTSE

Distinguished Professor Genevieve Bell trained as a cultural anthropologist, with a PhD from Stanford University. She joined Intel Corporation in 1998, where she held several key leadership roles. She was promoted to the position of Vice President in 2014 and recognised as Senior Fellow in 2015.

In 2017, Distinguished Professor Bell returned home to Australia and to ANU, joining the ANU College of Engineering, Computing and Cybernetics (CECC) to establish the University’s first innovation institute, the Autonomy, Agency and Assurance Institute (3Ai).

In 2021, Professor Bell founded the School of Cybernetics within CECC, positioning cybernetics as a vital tool to help navigate major societal transformations.

Since 2019, Distinguished Professor Bell has served as a Non-Executive Director of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia – a role she will relinquish.

Top image: Distinguished Professor Genevieve Bell. Photo: Andrew Meares/ANU

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