Deputy Secretary Naval Shipbuilding and Sustainment

Jim McDowell

Jim McDowell has over 30 years’ experience in both the private and public sectors. Jim was appointed to the position of Deputy Secretary Naval Shipbuilding and Sustainment at the Department of Defence in July 2023. Prior to joining Defence, Jim was CEO of Nova Systems for three years, and from 2018 to 2020 was Chief Executive for the Department of the Premier and Cabinet in South Australia. Jim has held numerous non-executive appointments including Chair of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation and Chancellor of the University of South Australia.

From 2001 Jim was CEO of BAE Systems Australia and oversaw the purchase of Tenix Defence. Under his leadership, the company expanded to become Australia's largest defence prime, with more than 6,500 employees and annual sales of approximately AUD $1.7 billion. He then moved to Saudi Arabia where he took up the role of in-country CEO for the $6 billion business.

Jim has held positions on various Defence panels and review boards including the First Principles Review, the establishment of the Naval Shipbuilding Plan, the gate review on major defence projects and Chair of the Air Warfare Destroyer Principals Council.

Jim also worked in legal, commercial and marketing roles with aerospace company Bombardier Shorts for 18 years after graduating from the University of Warwick (England).

Jim currently lives in Adelaide with his wife and son.