Alison Deans has been appointed chairperson of Cochlear, a Sydney-based medical device company that designs, manufactures and supplies cochlear implants.
Deans was the former eBay Australia head and will be replacing Rick Holliday-Smith, who will retire from the board in August.
Deans, 53, has been non-executive director of Cochlear since January 2015, and is chairperson of the technology and innovation committee. She is also a member of the audit and risk, nomination and people and culture committees.
She was the first CEO of eBay Australia, and before that, a consultant with McKinsey & Company in London and Sydney.
Deans will join only a handful women in a chairperson role in Australia. According to The Australian, only 24 women are currently running boards of ASX 200 companies. Figures from the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) show that this is an increase from 11 women in 2015.
Deans said her organisation has seen strong investment in innovation and market development in the last few years, and hopes to strengthen Cochlear’s market position and growth outlook.
“Our goal is to ensure that we can provide a lifetime of hearing solutions to the children, and adults, being implanted with our devices today, while also delivering leading hearing solutions for our future recipients,” she told the AFR.
Rick Holliday-Smith, who has been on Cochlear’s board since 2005, said Deans’ “…deep understanding of the company, breadth of experience as a non-executive director and extensive experience leading technology-enabled businesses means she will be an excellent and well-qualified chair.”
“The company has provided more than 600,000 implant devices to people globally and continues to be the global market leader in implantable hearing solutions,” he added.
Deans will continue to serve on the boards of Ramsay Health Care and Deputy Group Pty Ltd, and on the investment committee of Main Sequence Ventures.