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Date published: 3 November 2010

Open Universities Australia (OUA) today announced the appointments of Mr Sam Weiss as Chairman and Mr David Phillips as an Independent Director.

Mr Weiss praised the achievements of the outgoing Chair Mr Peter Wade, who retired on 31 October after 10 years in the role.

Mr Wade brought wide experience in government, education and business to his role at OUA, gained particularly through positions as Deputy Head of the Treasury of Victoria and General Manager of Monash University.  

"I am delighted to take up the Chairmanship and continue to expand quality tertiary education opportunities to more Australians through the successful growth of OUA," Mr Weiss said.

"As a Founder Director of OUA (then known as the Open Learning Agency of Australia) in 1992, Peter Wade has fundamentally changed the Australian education landscape and brought online learning into the mainstream.

"Under his stewardship OUA has grown to be the national leader in online higher education, enrolling over 144,000 students since 1993. Unit enrolments have grown fourteen fold to 127,574 in 2010, up from 8,926 in 1993 and the number of courses offered through OUA has doubled to over 90.

"Since Peter became Chairman in 2000, OUA annual revenue has also grown to $115 million for the first three quarters of 2010, up from $9 million for the full year 2000.

Mr Weiss will assume the Chair on 1 November. He has served as an Independent Director of OUA for six years and has chaired the organisation's Human Resources Committee since 2008.

He is currently Chairman of Altium Limited, Deputy Chairman of GLG Corp Limited and a non-executive director of Oroton Group Limited, IPGA Limited and Housewares International Ltd. He brings to the role more than 30 years working in the US, Europe, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific with leading consumer companies including: Nike, Gateway computers and Sheridan.

Active within the education, arts and disadvantaged communities, Mr Weiss is also President of the Harvard Club of Australia, Vice President of The Benevolent Society and a director of The Sydney Festival.

David Phillips takes up a Directorship on 1 November. He is a Director and Chairman of PhillipsKPA, a specialist consultancy to the education and training sectors and related industries.

Mr Phillips was previously the head of the Higher Education Division in the Commonwealth Department of Employment, Education and Training; and a Senior Advisor and Consultant to two Commonwealth Ministers for Education.

"We are pleased to have attracted in David Phillips an accomplished policy analyst who brings strong experience and highly relevant skills to his role overseeing OUA's future development and direction," Mr Weiss said.

About Open Universities Australia (OUA)

Owned by seven of Australian premier universities, OUA is the national leader in providing open and flexible access to quality tertiary education, enrolling over 144,000 students since 1993. We provide access to over 1000 units and 90 qualifications taught by 18 leading universities and other tertiary education providers around the country in: Arts & Humanities, Business, Education, Health, Law & Justice, Information Technology, and Science & Engineering.

For further information, please see the contact information on the right.