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Barwon Health appoints Frances Diver as CEO

Monday, 15 April 2019

Frances Diver PortraitMs Frances Diver has been appointed as Barwon Health CEO after an extensive international search that identified several very highly qualified candidates.

Frances is a well-known and respected healthcare leader in Victoria, having held senior leadership roles for more than 15 years. Initially trained as a nurse and midwife, Frances has worked in a clinical setting in a number of metropolitan and regional hospitals across New Zealand and Australia. Her clinical background then led to roles in health promotion and education for BreastScreen, before moving to Monash Medical Centre where she worked on  capital project development, and then as Site Manager for the Monash Medical Centre. Following this role, Ms Diver took on the position of Manager Patient Access with Bayside Health (The Alfred).

Frances then joined the Department of Health and Human Services as Manager of the State-wide Emergency Program, eventually rising to the position of Deputy Secretary, Hospital and Health Service Performance, charged with the responsibility for the overall performance of the Victorian public health services, including service, quality and financial outcomes. Most recently, Frances was the Chief Executive Officer of the Country Fire Authority (CFA).

Brian Cook, Barwon Health Board Chair, is delighted to announce this appointment.

“Appointing a person of such high calibre, with such a solid background in leadership, is a real coup for Barwon Health.

“Frances’ experience, both in clinical settings and through her work with the Department of Health and Human Services, will support Barwon Health’s focus on patient-centred care and our role in working with our partners throughout south-west Victoria.

“Her extensive professional background and strong relationships with the Department of Health and Human Services will be real assets to Barwon Health at a critical time for the organisation, as Barwon Health commences planning for its next strategic plan for the period 2020 to 2025.

“Frances’ professional career has resulted in developing exceptionally strong relationships with government, primary care, community stakeholders and industry CEOs. She is a proven influencer and negotiator with these groups.

“Her vast experience and understanding of healthcare services and leadership, coupled with experience in strategic planning and service planning will be vital for the organisation’s future success.

“Frances is particularly skilled in building strong teams and has had considerable experience in building organisational culture. Her recent role in leading the CFA is an example of the positive outcomes she can achieve and I am sure that her honest and fair approach to leadership will be warmly welcomed by all staff.”

Ms Diver said she was looking forward to working with Barwon Health staff and clinicians and partner organisations to make a real difference in the Geelong community and the broader Region. She is looking forward to living in Geelong.

“I have worked with many of the leaders within Barwon Health through my time at the Department of Health and Human Services and feel my more recent experience with the CFA, coupled with my commitment and energy, will help guide Barwon Health through the next phase of its development.

“On a personal level, Geelong is a vibrant city that is evolving and changing; Geelong is renowned for its strong sense of community and I am looking forward to taking advantage of all that it offers.”

Ms Diver will commence with Barwon Health on 30 April 2019. In making this announcement, Mr Cook took the opportunity to thank the Interim CEO, Cobus Lotheringen for leading the organisation over the past six months.

“Cobus’ positive and collegiate approach to leadership has seen the organisation continue to focus on delivering safe quality care as efficiently as possible. On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank both him and the Executive team for their support over this time.”


  • Appointed CEO of the Country Fire Authority (CFA) Victoria at a time when the organisation needed support to develop and improve the culture.
  • Over 12 years’ experience at the Department of Health, which included the role of Deputy Secretary, Hospital and Health Service Performance. In her most recent role with the Department, Frances reported to the Secretary and provided senior leadership across the public health service sector in Victoria. This role was focussed on managing outcomes. It also included policy and program functions, such as service planning and infrastructure delivery and management, quality, safety and patient experience, private hospital licensing, as well as funding policy and health information.
  • Health leadership roles at Southern Health (Monash Medical Centre) and Bayside Health
  • Frances comes from a clinical background having trained as a nurse, holding nursing and midwifery roles at hospitals in New Zealand and Australia, including La Trobe Regional Hospital..


  • Graduate, Australian Institute of Company Directors
  • Senior Executive MBA, University of Melbourne
  • Participant in the Victorian Government Leadership Development Program
  • Executive Fellows Program, Australia New Zealand School of Government (ANZOG), University of Melbourne
  • Bachelor of Applied Science (Advanced Nursing), La Trobe University, Melbourne
  • Diploma of Comprehensive Nursing, Wellington Technical Institute, New Zealand

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