Australia’s independent online safety regulator has strengthened its leadership ranks with the appointment of Rebecca Razavi as Executive General Manager.
Ms Razavi comes to eSafety following a 20-year career in public and private sector management roles that has taken her to Asia, Africa, Europe and Australia, and included more than a decade in senior diplomatic and other roles with the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
The appointment of a Chief Operating Officer to work with eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant reflects the growing demands upon the agency since its inception in 2015, as well as the community’s expectations in an era of proliferating online risks.
Originally tasked with protecting Australian children and minors from the harm inflicted by cyberbullying, eSafety now also operates legislative schemes in image-based abuse and illegal content such as online child sexual abuse. Following the Christchurch terror attacks last year, eSafety gained regulatory powers to deal with Abhorrent Violent Material, as well as Terrorist and Extreme Violent Material. In the area of prevention of online harm, eSafety delivers major programs in outreach, education and research.
“Rebecca Razavi is a values-driven professional who fully recognizes the urgency of the challenges we confront as the world’s pioneering online safety regulator,” said Julie Inman Grant, Australian eSafety Commissioner.
“She is here to make a difference, and her presence will significantly enhance our operational capabilities as our work continues to grow and develop, and will enable me to bolster focus on strategy and external engagement.”
Razavi’s most recent role was at NSW Treasury, as an Executive Director leading the design and development of the NSW Government’s Industry, Trade and Investment Strategy. Between 2015 and 2018, she was Executive Director at Ernst & Young, establishing a team focused on sustainability, corporate reporting, green finance and clean tech. During this time she also undertook an Executive MBA at Oxford University. Her leadership roles in the UK’s Foreign Office and Home Office included oversight of child protection, privacy and transnational crime issues, including negotiation and design of EU regulation – concerns that overlap with eSafety’s responsibilities.
“I am delighted to come on board at a critical juncture for eSafety, as well as for the online safety of Australians as the COVID-19 crisis recalibrates our online lives,” Ms Razavi said.
“eSafety plays a positive and world-leading role in online safety and I hope to bring my background and skills to bear on building our external connections, both nationally and internationally.
“This is a unique opportunity to serve the community through an agency that provides an online safety-net for all our citizens — from preschoolers scrolling through their first Play School videos, through to seniors being assisted to get online, safely, for the first time.”