Christian Bennett

Vice President of Government Affairs and Policy

GE Australia

Specialist in building corporate reputation and influence through strategic relationship management. Developed over 20 years, leveraging off a diverse range of executive leadership roles across diplomacy and corporate life, living and working in Africa, Asia, Australia and the United States.

Private sector roles (since 2006) have provided counsel to the CEO and leadership teams of one of Australia’s largest oil and gas producers (Santos) and the world’s largest mining company (BHP Billiton). Particular emphasis on building and institutionalising internal capability build, and the design and execution of long-term relationship build programs whilst maintaining a keen parallel focus on short-term transactional delivery. Currently on the leadership team for GE Australia, NZ & PNG.

Domain expertise includes developing stakeholder relationships that deliver mutually beneficial outcomes. In particular, to drive excellence in public affairs that generates substantial business outcomes both in terms of value creation, risk mitigation and reputation management. These outcomes leverage 14 years in government service, a decade of commercial experience and tertiary grounding in law, economics and an MBA. Together, they enable over-the-horizon public policy thinking, whilst retaining a clear focus on immediate business imperatives.

Thought-leadership activity includes the Asia Society’s Young Leaders’ Summit (Singapore), the Prime Minister’s Australia 2020 Summit (2008) and the Australia-US Leadership Dialogue’s Honolulu (2014) and West Coast Forums (2012). Board roles include, by appointment of the Foreign Minister, the Australia-Malaysia Institute and the Council for Australian Latin American Relations. Community activity has included AsiaLink’s Asia Literacy program and as a Board Member of the SA Asthma Foundation.

Interests include sport with my young boys, US political history and gardening.

Specialties: Strategic-level government, community and media relations, brand/reputation/crisis management, policy analysis/advocacy, stakeholder management, foreign affairs.