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The Board

The Board is responsible for overseeing the performance and overall direction of Austin Health. The State Government appoints board members, with most terms usually three years.

Ross Cooke OAM

Ross Cooke - Board Chair

Board Chair

Feb 2021 – present

Mr Ross Cooke OAM was appointed chair of the Austin Health Board in February 2021 and was reappointed from 1 July 2023.

Ross has over 35 years of experience in strategic, financial, commercial and management roles in business consulting, with specific focus in the health industry. He has a Bachelor of Commerce and is a Chartered Accountant. He also has experience serving on various boards (both not-for-profit and for-profit), including as a board member of the Burnet Medical Research Institute for 20 years and was a past board president of Wintringham (a not-for-profit provider of aged and homelessness services). 

Ross has previously held positions working in senior executive positions with public hospitals in Victoria and interstate, as well as working with governments on strategic issues in public health. Ross has also worked in the private health insurance and private hospital sectors.

Ross was awarded an Order of Australia Medal in the 2019 Australia Day Awards for his services to the community.

Chris Altis


July 2015 – present

Mr Chris Altis was appointed to the Austin Health Board in July 2015.

Chris holds a Bachelor of Commerce and Master of Arts (Public Policy) from the University of Melbourne and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Chris has 30 years’ experience in the health sector, working in a policy and advisory capacity at a Victorian and national level.

As chair of the North Richmond Community Health Service he oversaw the establishment of Melbourne’s first medically supervised injecting facility. He was also the founding executive manager of The New Daily national online news service. He currently holds other non-executive director roles including Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network.

Chris consults in health policy and management.

Chris is chair of the Austin Health People and Culture Committee and a member of the Community Advisory Committee.


Christine Bessell


July 2016 – present

Dr Christine Bessell was appointed to the Austin Health Board in July 2016.

Christine is an experienced obstetrician and medical executive who brings a passion for and experience in the provision of effective, safe and patient centred public hospital care. She has previously practised obstetrics in the private and public sectors in metropolitan Melbourne and has held medical executive roles at Southern Health (now Monash Health), Eastern Health and at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital. She was Chief Medical Officer at the Royal Women's Hospital from 2004 until 2014.

Christine has provided consultancy advice in maternity services, clinical governance, and patient safety to the Chief Executive of Djerriwarrh Health Service (Bacchus Marsh) and to other regional and rural health services across Victoria. She was a member of the Victorian Board of the Medical Board of Australia 2013 to 2020.

Christine is chair of the Austin Health Primary Care & Population Health Advisory Committee and a member of the Clinical Safety & Quality Committee and Community Advisory Committee.

Julie Bignell

Julie Bignell


July 2015 – present

Ms Julie Bignell was appointed to the Austin Health Board in July 2015.

Julie has a long history of leadership and governance in the public and not-for-profit sectors. In addition to Austin Health, she is the Treasurer of Women's Health Victoria.

Julie's previous board experience includes directorships with CareSuper, the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors, North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation, Workplace Health & Safety Queensland and the Queensland Council of Unions. She was Branch Secretary of the Central & Southern Queensland Branch of the Australian Services Union (ASU) for 15 years and was a member of the National Executive and National vice president of the ASU.

Julie holds a Bachelor of Arts (Economics & Japanese) and a Graduate Diploma in IR/HRM, is a Fellow of both the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees and the Governance Institute of Australia.

Julie is chair of the Austin Health Community Advisory Committee and a member of the Clinical Safety & Quality Committee and the People and Culture Committee.

Joel Chibert

Joel Chibert


July 2020 – present

Mr Joel Chibert was appointed to the Austin Health Board in July 2020.

Joel is an experienced financial and corporate services executive with extensive experience across a range of sectors including education, health, scientific research and development, and professional services.

He is currently the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer at the Melbourne Business School.

Previously Joel was the Chief Financial Officer at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute and has held a range of senior finance roles with Monash University.

Joel has previously held a range of non-executive and board positions – including the Common Equity Housing Limited, Monash Surgical Private Hospital, Bendigo Primary Care Centre and Monash Health Research Precinct.

Joel is passionate about transformational change, best practice service delivery, sound financial management and ensuring the Austin Health community continue to receive outstanding medical care and service.

Joel is chair of the Austin Health Finance and Resources Committee and is a member of the Audit and Risk Committee.

Bruce Cohen

Dr Bruce Cohen


July 2020 – present

Dr Bruce Cohen was appointed to the Austin Health Board in July 2020.

Bruce holds commerce and law degrees from the University of Melbourne, and a doctorate in public policy from the Australian National University. He is a former barrister and has also undertaken a number of policy and senior advisory roles in both the public and private sectors. He is currently the principal at BKE Consulting.

Bruce has substantial governance experience, having served on numerous public sector boards. He has been chair of VicTrack and the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation, as well as a director of Snowy Hydro Limited, Melbourne Water and VENCorp, and a commissioner with the Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission. He is currently a director at Greater Western Water.

Bruce is chair of the Austin Health Audit and Risk Committee and a member of the Finance and Resources Committee and Clinical Safety and Quality Committee.

Lee Hamley

Lee Hamley


July 2023 – present

Dr Lee Hamley was appointed to the Austin Health Board in July 2023.

Lee’s undergraduate medical degree is from the University of Melbourne. She has a Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Medical Administrators as well as Master of Business Administration from Monash University.

Lee has worked in public hospital management in Victoria for over 20 years, with extensive experience in both medical administration and general management.

Lee has held her current role, Executive Director Medical Services/ Chief Medical Officer Alfred Health, for more than 15 years. This portfolio includes professional responsibility for Alfred Health’s medical staff as well as operational responsibility for pathology, pharmacy, medical workforce & education, clinical governance and legal support services. She has a keen interest in patient safety and quality and the interface between medicine and the law.

Lee’s previous senior appointments include at Eastern Health as Chief Medical Officer & General Manager Acute Services and before that in similar roles at Northern Health. She is also currently on the Council/Board of the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine.

Lee is a member of the Austin Health Clinical Safety & Quality Committee, Primary Care and Population Health Advisory Committee and People & Culture Committee.

Robyn McLeod

Robyn McLeod


July 2022 – present

Ms Robyn McLeod was appointed to the Austin Health Board in July 2022.

Robyn has held the positions of independent commissioner for Water Security in South Australia, National Director of Water at KPMG, and Executive Director of Major Projects - Water with the Department of Sustainability and Environment, Victoria.

Robyn’s non-executive director career commenced when she was appointed to the Melbourne Water Board in 2015. Robyn chaired the Board Capital Approval Subcommittee and Capital Investment Review, sits on the Customer Service and Delivery Committee, and is a member of the People Safety and Culture Committee.

Robyn was also a director on the Board of Monash Health for three years, from 2019 until 2022, where she served on the Finance Committee, Risk and Audit Committee, and the Consumer Advocacy Committee. In addition, Robyn is a mentor for directors in the health and water space.

Robyn is currently a non-executive director on the Board of CleanTeq Water Limited (ASX:CNQ) and recently retired from her four-year term on the Board of VicWater.

In previous careers, Robyn was Chief of Staff to the Victorian Energy Resources and Ports Minister, and an advisor to the Victorian Environment and Education Minister. Robyn has previously worked in higher education, industrial relations, and secondary teaching.

Robyn is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and completed the Senior Executive Fellows Program at The Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Previous board positions include as an inaugural director of The Australian Centre for Social Innovation.

Robyn is a member of the Austin Health Audit and Risk Committee, Clinical Safety and Quality Committee and Community Advisory Committee.

Fi Slaven

Fi Slaven


July 2018 – present

Ms Fi Slaven was appointed to the Austin Health Board in July 2018.

Fi is a director at the Accounting firm William Buck Victoria and chair of their Risk Committee. She also is a non-executive director for Crime Stoppers Victoria and Chair of the Spinal Research Institute.

Fi is a passionate advocate for diversity, equality and inclusion and has been particularly focused and influential in promoting women's participation in STEM careers. As such, Fi was recognised for her contributions to the industry by her peers and was named 2014 National and Victorian ICT Woman of the Year.

After advancing IT leadership roles within healthcare, Fi was appointed as the first Australian Chief Information Officer for a national accounting firm and subsequently became the first female and Australian IT Asia Pacific regional coordinator and representative on the IT Advisory Committee.

Commencing her career at the Austin Hospital as a graduate nurse and then specialising in critical care, Fi progressed into senior nursing roles which led to a move into the technology industry and managing IT services within private healthcare groups.

Fi is a member of the Austin Health Finance & Resources Committee, Primary Care & Population Health Advisory Committee and the People and Culture Committee.