Sydney Motorway Corporation (SMC) has appointed a new Chair to its board of directors.

John Cooper has been appointed Chair after Peter Brecht advised he would not renew his current term on 1 October 2017.

Mr Brecht was appointed to the SMC Board in May 2015 and appointed as Chair in October 2015, he will remain on as a Director until the conclusion of his current term.

SMC Chief Executive Officer, Dennis Cliche, said Mr Brecht had taken SMC and the WestConnex project through an extraordinary period of growth and development during his time as Chair.

“Under Peter’s leadership SMC successfully transitioned from an infrastructure financing agency into the NSW Government’s primary delivery authority responsible for the financing, planning, construction and operation of the WestConnex motorway,” Mr Cliche said.

“We thank Peter for his enormous contribution to our organisation and to the nation’s largest transport infrastructure project.”

Mr Brecht said that after almost five years of involvement with the WestConnex project, it was appropriate for new leadership to drive the organisation into its next phase which now includes motorway operations as well as divestment.

“It’s incredible to see the progress SMC and the project have made since the inception of the WestConnex Steering Committee in 2013,” Mr Brecht said.

“In only a few short years we’ve achieved a great deal, including the successful procurement of $3.2 billion in private sector finance, completion of the widened section of the New M4, major construction underway on two major stages, and planning on the M4-M5 Link well advanced.

“I am extremely proud of the progress we’ve made and I look forward to working with the incoming Chair to ensure a smooth transition. I wish everyone involved in WestConnex the best of luck in delivering this once-in-a-generation project.”

Mr Cooper, who was appointed as a Non-executive Director of Sydney Motorway Corporation in June 2016, is the incoming Chair and brings over 35 years of experience in the construction and engineering sector in Australia and overseas, having held leadership positions at CMPS&F and the Sydney Olympic Games.

“We are nearing peak-construction for two stages, and are now overseeing the operation of the widened New M4, securing D&C contractors for the M4-M5 Link, and supporting the SMC divestment transaction,” Mr Cooper said.

“I look forward to working with Dennis, the SMC Board and management to ensure we deliver all elements of the WestConnex project as quickly and effectively as possible for the benefit of all western Sydney motorists.”

Mr Cooper holds a Non-Executive Directorship with Aurizon Holdings and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, the Australian Institute of Management and Institute of Engineers. He has also served on the International Board of Murray and Roberts, the Board of NRW Holdings, as Deputy Chairman of Clough Engineering and Chairman of Southern Cross Electrical Engineering.

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