Professor Mary Foley AM


Professor Mary Foley AM
CEW Member

NSW Ministry of Health
NSW Secretary of Health

Professor Mary Foley AM has recently stepped down from the statutory position of Director General and Secretary of NSW Health at the completion of her 5-year term of office.

As Director General and Secretary, Mary has led a major reform process involving devolution of decision making to local health districts, supported by a robust funding and performance system and investment in new models of integrated care, ICT and capital infrastructure, research, innovation and education.

Mary‘s extensive career in health policy and service delivery encompasses senior executive experience across Australia’s health sector. She has held leadership roles within state and federal government, the private sector and not-for-profit organisations. She has written and lectured extensively on health policy and served as an adviser to the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission.

Prior to joining NSW Health, Mary was National Health Industry Leader for PwC Australia (2008 – 2011). From 2001 to 2008, Mary was foundation Chief Executive of St Vincents & Mater Health Sydney (2001 - 2008), responsible for integrating public and private hospitals and affiliated medical research institutes. From 1992 to 2000, Mary held senior executive positions with Mayne Nickless Limited, including as Director of Acquisitions and as General Manager heading the Diagnostic Services division.

Prior to her business career, Mary was a senior public servant at Deputy Secretary and Department Head level in the NSW public service, following earlier career experience in the Australian Public Service in Canberra.

Mary was Deputy Chancellor of Western Sydney University (2007 – 2009), a member of the University’s governing board (1993 – 2009), chaired the University’s Strategy and Resources Committee (1998 – 2009) and is an Adjunct Professor with the University’s School of Science and Health (since 2010). Mary was also board director of the Australian Universities Quality Agency (AUQA), 2009 – 2011, a member of the Board of Governors of the University of Notre Dame Australia (2005 – 2011), a board director of the Garvan Institute of Medical Research (2001 – 2008), a board director of the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute (2001 – 2008), a board director of the National eHealth Transition Authority Limited, a member of the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Committee (AHMAC), 2011 – 2016, Chair of AHMAC’s Hospitals Principal Committee (2011 – 2016) and a board member of the Menzies Centre for Health Policy, an entity of Sydney University and ANU. In 2015 Mary was a member of the Federal Health Minister’s Primary Health Care Advisory Group.

Mary’s achievements in public administration in health and education were acknowledged when she was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the 2016 Australia Day Honours list.

Mary was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters by Western Sydney University (2010) in recognition of her contribution to the Australian community in health and research. Mary was awarded the Centenary Medal by the Federal Government for service to Australian society in business leadership,2003. She was also recognised as NSW Business Woman of the Year in 1998 for her achievements in the private health care sector.

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