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IoD Bermuda Conference: A New Era of Board Excellence
2 November 2018
The Hamilton PrincessBermuda

Audette Exel AO
Founder and Chair at Adara Group


Audette Exel AO is the founder of the Adara Group. The Adara Group, established in 1998, has two quite different parts, but one united purpose – to support people in poverty. The first part is an international development organisation called Adara Development which provides service to more than 50,000 people in extreme poverty each year. The second part is two Australia-based corporate advisory businesses, of which Audette is Chief Executive Officer.

Audette is a passionate advocate for diversity at all levels of public and corporate life. She is a committed social entrepreneur and a leader in the “business for purpose” movement. She has an interest in the changing role and expectations of business in society, which she brings to all aspects of her working life.

Audette has been a director of one of Australia’s largest listed companies, Suncorp Group Limited, since June 2012 and is a member of the Board Risk Committee. She brings to Suncorp a legal background as well as deep experience in banking, insurance and reinsurance, investment management and corporate advice.

Audette has an in-depth understanding of governance and compliance, particularly in the banking sector, from her roles on the board of the Bermuda Monetary Authority (1999–2005) Bermuda’s central financial services regulator, Chair of the Bermuda Stock Exchange (1995–1996) and as Managing Director of Bermuda Commercial Bank (1993–1996). Audette was one of the youngest women in the world to have been the Managing Director of a publicly-traded bank.

She has long experience with the reinsurance markets, having worked in one of the largest reinsurance markets in the world, Bermuda, for 14 years. She held the role of Vice Chairman of the board of the Steamship Mutual Underwriting Association Trustee (Bermuda) Limited, one of the world’s largest Protection and Indemnity mutuals for the shipping industry, for 18 years. Prior to joining Bermuda Commercial Bank, Audette practiced as a lawyer specialising in international finance, working in Sydney and Hong Kong. She is called to the Bars of New South Wales, Australia, England and Wales, and Bermuda.

Audette is the recipient of numerous awards. She was named Australia’s ‘Leading Philanthropist’ 2016 by Philanthropy Australia. She was NSW Telstra Businesswoman of the Year 2012 and was one of The Australian Financial Review’s 100 Women of Influence in 2012. In 2013 she was awarded an honorary Order of Australia for service to humanity in Uganda and Nepal through her work at Adara Group, and in 2014 she was recognised by Forbes as a ‘Hero of Philanthropy’. In 2015 she was inducted into the Australian Businesswomen’s Hall of Fame and was a recipient of a World Class New Zealander Award.

Agenda Sessions

  • Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility: the Board’s Role