Executive Team

Director and Chief Executive (2013)

Professor Timothy J Entwisle PhD, BSc (Hons) 

Leads and promotes Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria to achieve the highest standards in horticulture, science, financial management and a broad range of visitor and education programs.

Professor Entwisle is a highly respected scientist, scientific communicator and botanic gardens director. He took up the role of Director and Chief Executive of Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria in March 2013, following two years in a senior role at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and eight years as Executive Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust in Sydney. Professor Entwisle is an Honorary Professorial Fellow at The University of Melbourne, and a regular contributor to print, radio, television and social media.

You can visit Tim at his blog, Talking Plants.

Executive Director Science (2006)

Professor David Cantrill PhD, BSc (Hons)

Responsible for leading research into plant biodiversity, systematics, conservation, and management of the State Botanical Collection, with statutory responsibility under the Royal Botanic Gardens Act 1991 and the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981.

Professor Cantrill worked as a senior research scientist in Europe for 15 years, first for the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge and later at the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm. He has published over 120 scientific articles; is an editor of Grana, an international journal for pollen studies; and sits on a number of international editorial and scientific advisory boards. His research interests focus on integrating information from fossil and living floras to understanding the origins of patterns of diversity in the southern hemisphere. He holds an honorary professorship with the School of BioSciences at The University of Melbourne.

Executive Director Corporate (1992)

Jenny Steinicke BA, Grad Dip Bus

Responsible for initiating and co-ordinating projects to improve corporate governance and management, including financial management and planning, people and culture management, information services, project management, and legal, legislative and contractual matters. Ms Steinicke is also responsible for financial and project management of the new Herbarium project and Great Melbourne Telescope House project at Melbourne Gardens, and the Recycled Irrigation Water projects at both Melbourne and Cranbourne Gardens.

She has over 25 years’ experience in botanic gardens management, and previously held senior management positions in consumer affairs and education.

Executive Director Melbourne Gardens (2010)

Chris Cole Dip Hort (Kew)

Responsible for horticultural planning and operations, including landscape planning, management and development of living plant collections and nursery operations at Melbourne Gardens. Mr Cole is also responsible for arboriculture and management of site facilities and infrastructure at Melbourne and Cranbourne Gardens. He provides direction for managing the development and implementation of Integrated Water Management and Landscape Succession projects at Melbourne Gardens.

He has over 15 years’ experience in public and botanic gardens management and has worked at Hampton Court Palace, National Trust, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and Townsville Botanic Gardens.

Executive Director Cranbourne Gardens (2001)

Chris Russell BSc (Hons), Grad Dip Land Rehab

Responsible for the leadership, management and operation of Cranbourne Gardens encompassing the Australian Garden and significant conservation areas, including horticultural planning and operations, natural areas research and management, and development and implementation of the site Master Plan. Mr Russell is also responsible for delivery of capital works projects, strategic input into land-use planning and relationship management in the region, as well as organisational OHS and aspects of environmental systems management across Cranbourne and Melbourne Gardens.

Prior to joining Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, Mr Russell had experience in environmental management and capital projects with Parks Victoria (formerly National Parks Service Victoria), the building industry, and scientific research.

Executive Director Engagement and Impact (2016)

Robin Penty MFA (University of Melbourne), BFA (Hons) (York University)

Responsible for leading programming and audience development, visitor experience, access, fundraising, marketing, communications, business development and tourism, Ms Penty has worked in the arts and culture, higher education, not-for-profit and public sectors for over two decades. An experienced executive leader, Robin has held senior leadership roles in business development and marketing for two major national charitable organisations, and was head of participation and public programs at Arts Centre Melbourne for six years in the period leading up to Hamer Hall’s redevelopment and reopening. With a lifelong commitment to social inclusion, learning and creative partnerships, Robin has worked in diverse roles as executive producer, arts programmer, qualitative researcher, strategy and planning consultant, and skilled facilitator.

Robin’s team at Arts Centre Melbourne was recognised by the State government on four occasions for leadership in community, disability access, digital and public programs, and her projects have won national awards through AbAF (now Creative Partnerships Australia) and the Australia Council.