Executive Leadership Team

Alison Leighton

Chief Executive Officer

Alison is a qualified engineer, an alumni of Harvard Business School, an MBA graduate and a member of the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (Victoria) Board, bringing a breadth of accolades and working knowledge to the role. Alison has over 15 years of progressive leadership experience in infrastructure, planning, operations, program and service delivery and business transformation. Alison’s broad experience in Local Government is paired with an innovative, energetic and engaging approach to leadership. Alison is a collaborative leader, focused on performance and productivity on behalf of Council and seeks to empower the Baw Baw Shire team to deliver outstanding service to the community in all areas of the municipality.

Matthew Cripps

Director Planning and Development

Matthew has an extensive background in statutory and strategic planning, with over 17 years in Local Government. He has previously worked at Frankston City Council, and Banyule City Council. Matthew holds a Masters of Social Science (Environment and Planning), a Bachelor of Arts (Urban Studies), a Graduate Certificate in Business and Administration, and is a Certified Practicing Planner. Matthew joined Baw Baw Shire Council in November 2013. Matthew’s directorate covers Planning, Economic Development, Arts and Culture, Building, Public Health, and the Local Laws areas.

Mark Dupe

Director Corporate and Community Services

Mark is a Senior Executive with 30 years of experience at senior levels in the private, Local Government and not for profit sectors. Mark has worked both domestically and internationally throughout his career. Mark joins the organisation from his previous role as General Manager Corporate Services at National Heart Foundation of Australia. Mark has also held senior executive positions at Telstra, Bayside City Council and Knox City Council. He holds a Bachelor of Economics, an MBA and post graduate IT qualifications. He is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a CPA. Mark will lead internal service teams including Organisational Development, Finance and Council Business, as well as community service teams including Family and Children’s Services, Aged and Disability Services and Home Based Support Services.

Cohen Van der Velde

Director Community Assets

Cohen is a qualified Civil Engineer with over 16 years of experience, predominantly in Local Government, including his most recent role at Bass Coast Shire Council as Manager Infrastructure Delivery for over six years. Cohen’s experience includes senior management roles across a broad range of business functions including engineering design, construction and project management. Cohen, who undertook his secondary schooling in Warragul, has a real passion for working closely with communities and highly values the power and impact of community engagement and public participation. Cohen will lead Council's infrastructure and assets portfolio ensuring projects and services are delivered in-line with community needs and expectations.

Mark Kestigian

Executive Manager Communications and Economic Development

Mark is a senior public affairs executive who has managed communications, marketing and government relations’ teams for leading public sector organisations, including Port of Melbourne Corporation, Strategic Industry Research Foundation (SIRF), Port of Hastings Development Authority, Mornington Peninsula Shire and the Victorian Managed Insurance Authority (VMIA). Mark also has experience in identifying key markets, developing strategies, managing communications and creating effective marketing campaigns for a range of ASX-listed technology companies.

Martin Hopley 

Chief Information Officer

Prior to local government, Martin was Chief Information Officer at the Victorian Department of Treasury and Finance where he was responsible for the delivery of the State Resource and Information Management System.

Mr Hopley is also a qualified primary school teacher, qualified project manager with the Project Management Institute (PMI) and is in the final stages of completing a Master of Business Administration (Corporate Governance) with Deakin University.