The federal government’s pick for the next Productivity Commissioner, senior Victorian bureaucrat Chris Barrett, has decided not to take up the role.
Grattan Institute CEO Danielle Wood will replace Mr Barrett, who was to begin this month, as the recommended appointment for the next five years.
Treasurer Jim Chalmers announced in July he would recommend Mr Barrett to head the Commission, with a brief to refocus and renovate the organisation.
On Wednesday, Mr Chalmers said Mr Barrett had “informed the government he is not proceeding with the appointment and has decided not to take up the role.”
Mr Chalmers described Ms Wood as an outstanding economist who would bring exceptional public policy expertise to the Productivity Commission.
Ms Wood was previously Principal Economist and Director of Merger Investigations at the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, a senior economist at NERA Economic Consulting, and a senior research economist at the Productivity Commission.
She is the President of the Economic Society of Australia and co-founder and first Chair of the Women in Economics Network.
“Her track record of leadership and innovative research at the Grattan Institute will greatly contribute to the PC’s mission,” Mr Chalmers said.
Ms Wood will be the first woman to lead the Productivity Commission or any of its predecessor agencies that stretch back for more than a century.
Subject to the Governor General’s approval, Ms Wood will take up her position as soon as possible.
Mr Chalmers did not provide a reason for Mr Barrett’s decision but wished him well with his future endeavours, saying he was an experienced public policy professional who would continue to make a meaningful contribution.