Geoff Browne, Lead Ombudsman – Small Business

Geoff Browne Profile picturePrior to joining AFCA in 2019, Geoff Browne has held several high profile senior roles supporting the small business sector. Geoff was the Victorian Small Business Commissioner from 2011 to 2016, where he successfully decreased the number of disputes between landlords and commercial tenants, expanded engagement with small and medium businesses, and increased awareness of the dispute resolution services offered by the Commission with customer satisfaction ratings of 95 per cent.

Prior to this Geoff was Deputy Director at Consumer Affairs Victoria, and has had senior management experience in both the public and private sectors, working in telecommunications, finance, and e-commerce. He has also run his own small business, and offers a wealth of experience in this area.

Mr Browne holds a Master’s Degree and First Class Honours Degree in Economics, and a Graduate Diploma in Company Secretarial Practice.

Diana Ennis, Executive General Manager – Resolution

Diana EnnisDiana Ennis has over 30 years of experience as a lawyer. Prior to becoming Executive General Manager – Resolution at AFCA, Diana was the Senior Manager, External Dispute Resolution Teams, Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) Australia.

Diana has been with AFCA and its predecessor schemes, FOS and the Banking and Financial Services Ombudsman, since 2003. She has held various positions during this time. Before joining the external dispute resolution industry, Diana worked as a commercial litigation lawyer in private practice.

Diana holds a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws from the University of Melbourne. She was admitted to practice as a barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court of Victoria and High Court of Australia in April 1984.

She has also completed a Graduate Certificate for Senior Managers at the Melbourne Business School/University of Melbourne and is a trained mediator.  

Evelyn Halls, Lead Ombudsman – Banking and Finance

Evelyn Halls

Evelyn has over 20 years of experience in the legal and financial services industry. Prior to the establishment of AFCA, Evelyn spent six years as an Ombudsman at the Financial Ombudsman Service. Evelyn has worked across a range of product areas, including Banking and Finance, General Insurance and Investments and Advice.

Evelyn was previously a partner in the Corporate Group at global law firm Herbert Smith Freehills where she advised corporate and government clients on a wide range of governance matters and significant transactions.

Evelyn holds a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws (Hons) degree from the University of Melbourne. She is also a graduate of the AICD Company Directors Course.

Evelyn is a two-time Olympian and an Executive member of the Australian Olympic Committee. She is also an Integrity Commissioner for Cricket Victoria.

John Price, Lead Ombudsman – General Insurance

John PriceJohn has over 30 years’ experience in the financial services industry. Prior to AFCA, John was Lead Ombudsman – General Insurance at the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) Australia, having previously acted as Referee, Adjudicator and a Panel Chair at FOS.

John was, until recently, also a Director of State Trustees Limited; STL Financial Service Limited; Chair of the State Trustees Limited Australia Foundation and member of the Audit, Investment and Remuneration Committees.

John is a Code of Conduct Commissioner for Cricket Australia and Chair of the Pennant Cricket Appeals Board for Cricket Victoria.

John’s industry knowledge has been built through his experience as a solicitor at Maurice Blackburn & Co from 1978, becoming a partner in 1984. He headed up the industrial personal injuries practice until retiring from the firm in 2004.

John brings his experience as a member of the Accident Compensation Committee for more than 20 years, a member of the Victorian WorkCover Authority Legal Liaison Committee and numerous Victorian Government working parties and advisory groups.

John is a member of ANZOA, the peak body in Australia and New Zealand for industry-based, parliamentary and statutory ombudsman offices.

Michael Ridgway, Executive General Manager – Corporate Strategy and Services

Michael RidgwayAs Executive General Manager – Corporate Strategy & Services, Michael oversees the Community & Corporate Communications Team, the Finance &  Facilities Team, and the People and Development, Information Services, and Strategy &  Analysis teams at AFCA. Michael has over 20 years of experience in dispute resolution.

Michael has been with AFCA and its predecessor schemes, FOS and the Financial Industry Complaints Service, since 2004, and has held a number of positions during this time, including Executive General Manager – Assessment and Resolution Group. Prior to that Michael worked with the Australian Securities and Investments Commissions and the Energy and Water Ombudsman Victoria in various roles.

Michael is legally qualified and is a qualified mediator

June Smith, Deputy Chief Ombudsman

June Smith

Dr June Smith has a wealth of experience in the financial planning and related sectors, well-developed relationships with regulators, industry and consumer groups and a significant track record as an independent decision maker.

Dr Smith is well recognised for her work developing the role of codes of practice to improve customer service, along with her efforts in promoting professional standards and business ethics in the financial advice industry.

Dr Smith was previously AFCA’s Lead Ombudsman Investments, Advice, Superannuation and Life Insurance. Dr Smith was also CEO of the Code Compliance Monitoring Committee for the Code of Banking Practice, and General Manager of Code Compliance and Monitoring at Financial Ombudsman Service.

Dr Smith has a PhD in Law from Victoria University, specialising in professional and business ethics and organisational decision-making within financial services organisations. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) and a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Melbourne.

Dr Smith’s current appointments include:

  • Member, Victorian Racing Tribunal
  • Adjunct Fellow, College of Law and Justice, Victoria University
  • Member, Racing Victoria Appeals and Disciplinary Board
  • Member, ANZOA
  • Graduate Member, Australian Institute of Company Directors
  • Member, Women on Boards

Hazel Thurlow, Executive General Manager – People and Culture

Michael Ridgway
Hazel has 19 years’ experience in the Human Resources space spanning the Asia Pacific region and into global teams. Throughout her career she has enjoyed leading all facets of the employee lifecycle including the design of HR services and execution of these services across organisations in multiple industries.

Hazel takes a contemporary approach to people strategy development creating HR teams that are key enablers of a business reaching its strategic objectives. She is a firm believer that successful HR teams are recognised for their commercial impact as well as their ability to influence the culture, design and performance of an organisation.

Hazel is a shaper and leader of change, with a leadership style that inspires people towards performance; shines a light on strengths and drives the execution of organisational objectives. Hazel is passionate about creating people experiences that are aligned with organisational values and purpose, something she is delighted to be leading at AFCA.

She is undertaking her Masters in Human Resource Management in October 2019. While not working, Hazel loves to spend time with her husband, her 6 year old daughter Ava, their two dogs and their extended family across Melbourne and Sydney. Hazel grew up in Sydney and has been Melbourne based for the last 8 years.