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September 5, 2019

Meet the power-brokers of the New Adelaide

In our work as journalists, we have the privilege of meeting and reporting on citizens who possess the power and agency to influence the future of Adelaide. We've collated an A-Z of power-brokers from our contact books, edited to a list of 20 that we believe will help shape the New Adelaide.

  • DW: David Washington
  • JB: Jessica Bassano
  • JF: Joshua Fanning
  • SK: Suzie Keen
  • SR: Stephanie Richards
  • TR: Tom Richardson


Andreacchio, Anton

Convergen, Jumpgate VR, Artisan Post Group
Founder and director

Anton Andreacchio’s CV contains more than enough reasons why we’d name him as key power-broker in the New Adelaide. The entrepreneur has degrees in mathematical and computer science, sits on the boards of the SA Government’s Entrepreneurship Advisory Board and the Adelaide Film Festival, and has production credits on films that have travelled to Sundance and on artworks that have exhibited at the Venice Biennale. More than a leader, Andreacchio is like someone who’s stepped out of the past – the Renaissance even – he’s a deep thinker, a problem-solver and a compassionate individual with strong connections to every community he has a stake in. (JF)




Brown, James

UFO Agencies
Creative director

Trying to find a bio to pin down the pivotal moments in James Brown’s career is difficult because the new design studio he’s co-founded – UFO Agencies – doesn’t have a website. Brown established Adelaide’s most influential design agency, MASH, with Dom Roberts not long out of university and, more than two decades later, has an esteemed Yellow Pencil award and some multi-million dollar developments in Bali as proof of his success and influence. Brown’s true power exists in his ability to constantly surprise and re-invent what looks good. Ideas that may seem extraordinary or just plain odd become critical signifiers of cultural capital for individuals, businesses and communities as everyone seeks to have their photo taken with something he has had a hand in creating. (JF)




Clemow, Matt

Social Policy Solutions

Matt Clemow is one of those people that almost everyone in Adelaide seems to know, even if almost no-one knows quite what it is he does. He got his start, almost by accident, in journalism – born into horseracing, he did a bit of work for the TAB guide and, after that folded, picked up a cadet gig at The Advertiser. At the tender age of 22, he shifted into politics, working as Pat Conlon’s media adviser and later chief of staff, as well as running Jennifer Rankine’s office for a time. He learned the ropes of their various portfolios  and, after Conlon stepped aside, Clemow did too – later founding development advisory and lobbying firm Property & Consulting with former Property Council boss Nathan Paine. He’s been active as former general manager of the Committee for Adelaide, and remains on the board. Clemow’s latest venture is as director of Social Policy Solutions, drawing on his time advising on social housing policy.  At least we know that.  (TR)




Duthie, Amanda

South Australian Film Corp
Head of production, development, attraction and studios

Amanda Duthie has become an invaluable asset of the South Australian film industry since moving here to take up the role of Adelaide Film Festival CEO and artistic director. Over six years with the festival she drove its national and international reputation to new heights, with the ADL Film Fest Fund investment supporting a slate of projects that have won prizes in Cannes, Berlin, Venice, and Sundance. Under her leadership, the AFF championed new forms of screen storytelling, including VR works, and in 2017 she also became CEO of the tech-based Hybrid World Adelaide. Duthie left her role with the AFF late last year to pursue what she described at the time as “new challenges” as head of production, development, attraction and studios at the South Australian Film Corporation – a role which sees her continuing to drive investment and innovation in screen content for the state. Recently Duthie filled the void as acting CEO of the South Australian Film Corporation prior to the announcement of Kate Croser as SAFC CEO. (SK)


Amanda Duthie has, since the date of publication, left her position at SAFC.






FORTH, Kathryn & Ritorto, Julia

Co-founders and head designers

Before Adelaide-based fashion label Acler had premiered its first collection, the company had minted a deal with Myer, such is the power of these two women and their brand. Four years on and the pair is looking at Australia as more of a launch pad than a home-base with strong sales and key marketing and publicity wins in the Northern Hemisphere. While Forth and Ritorto both had their start in fast fashion, Acler represents a slower and more luxurious bent, which is good for the planet and – apparently – celebrities such as Gigi Hadid and Kelly Rowland. (JF)




Hawkins, Liz

Adelaide Festival Centre
Director of programming, development & venue sales

Liz Hawkins oversees the programming and delivery of all festivals produced by the AFC, its fundraising activity and is responsible for negotiating and contracting major musicals and commercial work for the venue. We understand Liz is the right-hand woman of CEO Douglas Gautier. Hawkins isn’t just an arts administrator – she’s an arts practitioner and a true global citizen with more than 30 years’ experience working from addresses in North America, the United Kingdom and now Australia. As a director on the boards of Festivals Adelaide and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education – Asia Pacific, she will undoubtedly be shaping the next chapter of performing arts and culture in the most prominent arts venues in South Australia. (SK)


Hurn, Ashton

Premier’s Office
Media and Communications Director

Ashton Hurn’s rise to prominence as perhaps Steven Marshall’s most trusted aide rivals the Premier’s own career arc. The former SA Institute of Sport netballer – a progeny of an SA sporting dynasty that includes brother Shannon, who captained West Coast to premiership victory – joined the Norwood MP’s electorate office when the now-Premier was a first-term Liberal backbencher. His swift elevation saw her advising the Leader of the Opposition by 2013, before shifting into the offices of senator Anne Ruston and the recently-redeployed Christopher Pyne – both moderate powerbrokers with significant influence in the state Liberal Party. After Marshall’s longer-than-expected apprenticeship in Opposition ended in March last, Hurn was recalled to be his primary liaison with the media. Recent musical chairs in his office saw her elevated from press secretary to director of media and communications and, given the rise and rise of many in the moderate ranks in recent years, it’s likely her swift ascension has only just begun. (TR)




La Forgia, Sacha

Adelaide Hills Distillery
Director and head distiller

A former wine-maker turned distiller, Sacha La Forgia has won every single award in the universe for his work with Adelaide Hills Distillery – including back-to-back 40 under 40 awards. La Forgia is so powerful he made the Young Gun of Wine top 50 list – even though he doesn’t make wine! He was not South Australia’s first local gin maker, but he’s absolutely our most influential. A partner in Nairne’s Lot 100 venue and with increasingly broad distribution for his suite of distilled products and a waiting list for his native grain whiskey, La Forgia embodies the new South Australian spirit (pun intended). (JF)


Leopardi, Sophia

Williams Burton Leopardi

When fellow architects in South Australia start readily and regularly referring to “that WBL look”, you know you’ve got power. Of course, all architects have influence over the built realm but the work and career of Sophia Leopardi is of particular note due to its consistent quality and high demand. Leopardi’s contribution to the stunning and painstaking revitalisation of The Darling Building on Franklin Street serves as a world-class demonstration of how new value can be extracted from old. The project won nearly every award it was up for in 2018 and Leopardi has again been lauded this year with several awards at the Australian Institute of Architects annual awards celebration. (JF)


Lock, Craig & Osmon, Ross

Five Four Entertainment
Founders and directors

What started out as a home-business in 2010 has grown over the past nine years into one of country’s most respected entertainment companies. Five Four is the go-to local partner for the likes of Splendour in the Grass thanks to their ability to stage and sell out an outdoors event with 20,000 tickets. The company Lock and Osman have built has a solid group of young employees and a significant and growing roster of artists and venues across Australia. Five Four isn’t SA-only – these guys are culture – makers with a national footprint. The recent acquisition of the old Fowler’s Live lease and establishment of the new Lion Arts Factory has had an incredibly positive impact on the health of the live music scene in Adelaide and continues to bring acts that would otherwise never step foot on Kaurna land. (JF)




McLachlan, Andrew

Legislative Council

The Liberals’ pick for Upper House president seems to embody that Death Of A Salesman dictum: he’s liked, but not well-liked. That is, he has cultivated broad cross-factional backing, but appears to lack a dedicated support base. McLachlan has immaculate soft conservative pedigree – he went to St Peters College and is on the private school’s governing council, his pre-political career traversed law and financial services and he was decorated for his service as a Colonel in the army reserve. But in parliament since 2014, he quickly established his reputation as something of a maverick: outspoken on policy, and even crossing the floor to vote against Liberal-backed legislation. Understood to court influence from both moderate and conservative wings of the party, his prospects for future elevation could hinge on the right vacancy falling open, but scuttlebutt about a possible move to Canberra has also been doing the rounds. It could all depend on whether he’s liked enough by enough of his colleagues. (TR)


Michael, Daniel


Event organiser and promoter Daniel Michael is the co-founder of Gluttony, the Adelaide Fringe hub in Rymill Park which has grown so significantly in both capacity and popularity in recent years that it is luring many of the big shows previously associated with Fringe stalwart the Garden of Unearthly Delights. Not many people know, but Michael was also one of the creators of the Enchanted Forrest – pioneers of the secret location rave! This year Gluttony launched a second successful Adelaide Fringe hub, in the historic Masonic Lodge on North Terrace, which also stepped into the breach following the closure of cocktail bar La Boheme to become the focal point for the 2019 Cabaret Fringe this June. Michael is also event director of official OzAsia Festival hub the Lucky Dumpling Market (coming back this October) – an event so popular with Adelaide revellers that it reportedly sold some 120,000 dumplings over the 2018 festival. (SK)


Morse, Rebecca

Channel 10
News anchor

Morning show host

This writer was a colleague of Rebecca Morse for approximately two weeks before the then news lead left the ABC in Collinswood to anchor Channel 10’s – first at five – nightly bulletin. Morse overshadows all others on the the commercial dial (in our opinion) with her seemingly hectic schedule of appearances, not to mention her career that burns the media candle at both ends with her hosting role on hit107 with Cosi in the morning. Morse has more billboard and back-of-bus placements than any other professional working woman. She is not only a style icon but, we’d argue, an idol of many aspirational professionals fullstop. If the New Adelaide needed a face, Morse would be the ideal candidate. (JF)




Nikolovski, Amy

Law Society SA

Young, female and outspoken, Amy Nikolovski probably surprised a few of the legal fraternity’s stale stalwarts when she was crowned president of the state’s peak legal body in January this year. Amy got her start as a union advocate, before bolstering her resumé with high-ranking positions on legal committees, and later becoming one of the youngest ever partners of leading legal firm Duncan Basheer Hannon. As only the fourth female head honcho of the Law Society in its 140-year history, Nikolovski has used her prominence to take a stance against bullying and has not shied away from condemning high-ranking officials such as the ICAC Commissioner and Ombudsman. With a regular column in The Advertiser and the authority to set the Law Society’s yearly priorities, Nikolovski will no doubt challenge a sector cemented in history, tradition and formality. (SR)




O’Loughlin, David


David O’Loughlin has been pushing Adelaide into new territory for years now. Remember Nick Cave selling Barossa dirt? That was one of a string of cut-through campaigns overseen by O’Loughlin at the SATC. It’s not too much of a stretch to suggest that O’Loughlin’s time at tourism helped change the way we and others see the state. For the past few years he’s been entrenching  Adelaide ad agency kwp!’s position as an integrated marketing outfit. O’Loughlin’s impact is being felt well beyond the state’s borders: kwp! was the agency behind Scott Morrison’s unexpected electoral win this year. From his office in the transformed old Nova cinema on Rundle Street, O’Loughlin and his team have worked on three successive and successful Liberal campaigns, including Steven Marshall’s victory in SA and the NSW party’s return for a third term. (DW)




Peak, Josh

Shoppies’ Union

To understand the significance of the role Josh Peak stepped into early this year, one need only ponder his predecessors: ALP factional ‘Godfather’ Don Farrell, current state Labor leader Peter Malinauskas, Right-faction convenor Sonia Romeo. When the latter stood aside as secretary of the Shop, Distributive and Allied employees association (otherwise known as the SDA, or simply “Shoppies” union) in February, Peak’s elevation marked him out as not merely a significant Labor figure, but one destined for yet bigger things. “He’s a young man, but he’s got an old head on his shoulders and I think he’ll steer the union in the right direction for the battles ahead,” said Farrell of his rise, in rhetoric reminiscent of his endorsement of Malinauskas when he took over the SDA reins back in 2008. Indeed, both men came to the Shoppies as teenaged supermarket hands, and went on to hold the senior role in the union that governs the ALP’s Right faction, Labor Unity. For Peak, who has also served on the ACTU national executive and is on Labor’s state executive, it means he will have a big say on decisions affecting the party both now and in potential future governments. (TR)



Thorley, Mark

Mill Film
Managing Director

From a standing start last year, Mill Film – a subsidiary of the film effects giant Technicolor – has already employed 300 people from across the globe at its Adelaide headquarters on North Terrace. Mill Film’s Australian outfit aims to add a further 200 jobs in animation, lighting, effects, composition and visual effects (to name a few) by 2024. In charge of the operation is managing director Mark Thorley. The Australian first stumbled into a career in digital effects after landing a job as a financial controller in a post-production company. Twenty-five years later, he’s worked on feature films such as Kong: Skull Island, Rogue One and Avengers: Age of Ultron. Thorley spent most of his career leading the production team at independent animation and visual effects company Animal Logic. Now, he’s leading one of the biggest players in what many South Australians hope will be a boom industry for the state. (JB)




Wilmot, Warren


Late last year, the Shahin family – owners of South Australia’s most intriguing private company Peregrine Corporation – quietly found an outsider to run their most prominent brand, OTR. The first CEO for the OTR juggernaut is convenience store veteran Warren Wilmot. Wilmot was CEO of 7-Eleven Australia for 13 years after a decade with Pizza Hut. The similarities in his most recent roles go beyond the surface: like OTR, 7-Eleven is owned by a wealthy family operation. Wilmot comes into OTR at a pivotal time for the company: it is expanding into western Victoria and, like all fuel and convenience retailers, faces a rapidly-changing retail environment that is likely to prompt some revolutionary thinking. (DW)



Revisit CityMag‘s 2018 power list:

The flipside of Power: SA’s top 20 most influential people




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