Former Austrade CEO Stephanie Fahey
Former Austrade CEO Stephanie Fahey

When Austrade’s acting chief executive Tim Beresford took questions after his first (online) “town hall” meeting three weeks ago, the first was whether he could give the organisation’s 500 or so staff any further information about why Stephanie Fahey suddenly “quit” as chief executive on June 12.

He demurred, claiming, in effect, he had been the last to know. Not everyone at Austrade believes him.

Fahey -- who was brought in from top four consultancy Ernst & Young’s (EY) education division in 2017 to run Australia’s government trade marketing arm after a distinguished academic career -- was the first woman in the role and won the gig on the back of a promise to overhaul the fusty bureaucratic agency and drag it into the 21st century.