Chief Strategy Officer

Russell Nelms

Russell Nelms is the Chief Strategy Officer to the President and Vice-Chancellor of UNSW Sydney. In his capacity as Chief Strategy Officer, Russell is a member of the University Management Board, and the Executive Team, and chairs the 2025 Strategy’s Planning and Assurance Board.

As Chief Strategy Officer, Russell also leads UNSW Planning & Performance, Legal & Compliance, Governance, Risk Management, and the University Program Office (UPO) by providing strategic direction and operational guidance to support the objectives of the University.

Prior to joining UNSW, Russell gained substantial experience in the areas of strategy, business transformation, project portfolio management, change management, organisation development, and quality/performance improvement.

Russell has held a variety of senior management positions within the corporate sector and has been instrumental in a number of significant change programs. He has an outstanding record of achievement coupled with the ability to build and direct a business through leadership, motivation, development of staff to maximum potential and the ability to influence at the most senior levels of organisations ensuring long-term sustainable change.

Russell’s experience in the corporate sector is complemented by a decorated career as an officer in the United States Army leading operations worldwide.

Russell holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from Appalachian State University, North Carolina.

Contact details

tel: +61 2 9385 1015
email: r.nelms@unsw.edu.au

Executive Assistant to the Chief Strategy Officer
Mariana Lazevski
tel: +61 2 9385 1015
email: m.lazevski@unsw.edu.au

Executive Officer to the Chief Strategy Officer
Rebecca Mann
tel: +61 2 9385 1670
email: r.mann@unsw.edu.au

Responsibilities within the office
View the office / unit organisational structure here

Governance
Director – Mr James Fitzgibbon

The Governance portfolio covers management of board and committee meetings, management of the policy framework, management of the register of delegations, responsibility for the conduct of elections, and responsibility for Records & Archives.

Legal and Compliance
General Counsel – Ms Elizabeth Grinston

The Legal Office provides advice to the University and its controlled entities on all legal matters affecting the University. The Office oversees Legal, Compliance, Governance Support, and Records & Archives.

Risk Management
Director – Mr Grant Cura

The Risk Management Team is responsible for monitoring, evaluating and reporting university wide risks to both the Management Board and University Council. Risk Management provides independent advice to risk owners on effective risk management, whilst also playing a lead role in the event that Business Continuity is invoked.

University Program Office (UPO)
Deputy Director – Mr Kit Routledge

The UPO provides support, assurance, performance monitoring and risk management of the overall 2025 Strategy program against planned and realised benefits and for all major projects across UNSW. This includes delivery of frameworks, tools and processes to support faculties and business units in planning, delivering and completion of projects to deliver the maximum benefit to UNSW and its stakeholders.

UNSW Planning & Performance (UPP)
Director – Ms Barbara Chmielewski

UPP creates, implements and manages business intelligence, reporting and data governance. UPP ensures that the standards, practices and processes around these areas align with the goals of the University. It allows for effective planning and information management by collecting and analysing data around its people (staff, students, stakeholders) and business units (faculties, administration). UPP is a key resource to senior management, providing data, management information and analysis to support University decision-making.