Exail.comOne of South Australia’s leading defence industry experts, Matt Opie, has been appointed as the new Chief Executive of Defence SA. Opie replaces outgoing CEO Richard Price who resigned in December 2023.

An Australian Defence Force Academy and Royal Military College Duntroon graduate, Opie has held senior defence positions across government, industry and academia over the course of his 30-year career. He served as an Officer in the Royal Australian Corps of Signals both in Australia and the Middle East. Since then, he has worked on defence projects in the Asia-Pacific, US and Europe working with defence forces, governments and the private sector.

In 2017, Opie began his existing position as Director of Defence and Space at the University of South Australia. Prior to this, he held senior positions at SAAB Australia and at BAE Systems Australia. Opie has a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Business Administration and has built an extensive network across Australian and internationally.

His tenure comes as South Australia embarks on AUKUS project, as well as other high-tech, transformative industrial programs aimed at boosting the nation’s defence capability. This includes shipbuilding projects such as the Arafura class offshore patrol vessels and Hunter class frigates, Collins class full-cycle docking and life-of-type extensions and the Hobart class destroyer combat system upgrade.

Opie’s role will also encompass leadership of the South Australian Space Industry Centre, Veterans SA and Defence Innovation Partnership, driving innovation and excellence across these sectors. Opie will commence his five-year tenure from Monday 15 April 2024.

“I’m excited to be able to contribute to the defence sector and the state’s prosperity during this critical period of continuous naval shipbuilding and AUKUS,” Opie said. “I look forward to bringing my skills and experience in defence and space, industry and research to support the defence and space sectors in South Australia. Defence SA has an enviable reputation as a leader in the defence sector Australia wide and I am very proud and excited to be able to lead the agency.  South Australia is known as the Defence State due to our strong history and capabilities in supporting defence, industry and research over many decades and I look forward to leading Defence SA to continue this important work.”


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