Maintaining UniQuest’s position as one of Australia’s largest and most successful university technology transfer companies, with group revenues exceeding A$50 million, will add another dimension to Mr Hewitt’s already multi-faceted career.
Originally from the UK, where he studied to become a Chartered Accountant and completed a BA (Honours) in Modern Languages, Mr Hewitt spent five years with Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu as a Chartered Accountant and Audit Senior.
He also honed his technical acumen whilst holding senior financial management positions in organisations operating in a range of industries, including textiles, building materials, cleantech, and private equity – developing the kind of insight UniQuest was looking for to optimise value from its growing portfolio of ventures spun out from university research.
“Rob’s experience with both multi-national companies and small business enterprises will help UniQuest advance our own company objectives as well as help our start-up companies establish strong and professional financial bases,” said UniQuest Managing Director, David Henderson.
“Commercialising university research is a highly specialised function, requiring a niche range of skills and processes to take an idea from the bench to the board room and out to the business and community sectors where it can really have impact. Rob’s diverse expertise has prepared him for the complex needs of our organisation and the services we provide to The University of Queensland and our partner research institutions.”
Mr Hewitt said he will draw on his experience in due diligence, acquisitions, integration and capital raising to ensure UniQuest continues to operate with the level of professionalism and integrity associated with the company since 1984.
“I am looking forward to producing the kind of robust financial intelligence that UniQuest needs to develop positive growth strategies, while ensuring the day-to-day financial processes provide smart and reliable support for that growth,” Mr Hewitt said.
“Global events like the GFC have taken their toll on organisations that focus on early-stage technologies and emerging service concepts. UniQuest has managed to ride out the storm and now I am taking on the reins to keep us on track as the market recovers.
“UniQuest’s contract research and consultancy work, including overseas aid through our International Development division, also presents new opportunities for me to play a part in the transfer of university expertise to business, government and the community.”
Mr Hewitt commenced work with UniQuest on 31 January and is based at the company’s University of Queensland St Lucia office.
UniQuest Pty Limited
Established by The University of Queensland in 1984, UniQuest is widely recognised as one of Australia’s largest and most successful university commercialisation groups, benchmarking in the top tier of technology transfer worldwide. From an intellectual property portfolio of 1,500+ patents it has created over 60 companies, and since 2000 UniQuest and its start-ups have raised more than $400 million to take university technologies to market. Annual sales of products using UQ technology and licensed by UniQuest are running at $3 billion. UniQuest now commercialises innovations developed at The University of Queensland and its commercialisation partner institutions: the University of Wollongong, University of Technology Sydney, James Cook University, University of Tasmania, Mater Medical Research Institute, and Queensland Health. UniQuest also provides access to an expansive and exclusive network of independent academics to tailor a consulting or project R&D solution to meet the diverse needs of industry and government, facilitating some 500 consulting, expert opinion, testing, and contract research services each year.
UniQuest is also a leading Australasian provider of international development assistance recognised for excellence in technical leadership, management and research. Working with agencies such as AusAID, NZAID, the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank, UniQuest has developed and implemented more than 400 projects in 46 countries throughout the Pacific, South-East Asia, the Indian sub-continent and Africa.
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