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Mr Jim McDowell

ASPI Council member

Contact information


Mr Jim McDowell was appointed to the ASPI Council in January 2017.

Jim commenced as Chancellor of the University of South Australia on 1 January 2016.  

Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Jim completed a law degree with honours at the University of Warwick (England) in 1977. He worked in legal, commercial and marketing roles with aerospace company Bombardier Shorts for the next 18 years.

Jim joined British Aerospace in Singapore in August 1996. In 1999, he was appointed Regional Managing Director of BAE Systems for Asia, following the merger of British Aerospace and Marconi Electronic Systems and based in Hong Kong. Upon taking over at BAE Systems Australia, Jim established the company’s headquarters in Adelaide, South Australia where he lives. 

Jim was Chief Executive Officer of BAE Systems Saudi Arabia a $6 billion company from September 2011 to December 2013.

Jim is a passionate supporter of continuing education. 

He has in-depth experience in corporate governance having served, mainly as Chair on a range of boards including the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, Air Warfare Destroyer Principals Council, The du Monde Group Pty Ltd, Total Construction Pty Ltd and Australian Defence Accelerator Ltd.  He is a non-executive director of both Codan Ltd and Austal Ltd. Board Member of the Royal Automobile Association (RAA) and St Peter’s College Council of Governors.

During his long career, Jim has lived and worked in the UK, the USA, Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Jim acts in a number of advisory roles to the Minister and the Department of Defence as a member of the First Principles Review of the Department and the Expert Advisory Panel for the Future Submarine Project. In December 2016, Jim as appointed as Government Adviser for the Naval Shipbuilding Plan Development.