Dr John Whittington


Dr John Whittington is the CEO of Blue Economy CRC-Co Ltd.

John joins us from the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment where he has been the Secretary (Chief Executive-equivalent) for more than five years. As the leader of that agency he has been responsible for a regionally dispersed workforce of approximately 1400 people with an annual expenditure in excess of $250 million, and management of $1.6 billion in assets.

John has led the sustainable planning and management of Tasmania’s wild fisheries, aquaculture, agriculture, animal welfare and biosecurity. He has also been the Director of Parks and Wildlife and the Director General of Lands, responsible for the conservation and management of Tasmania’s 3.2 million ha reserve estate.

John has a PhD in algal physiology from the University of Adelaide and has postdoctoral experience at universities in Australia and the USA, and with the CRC for Freshwater Ecology. He Has previously Chaired the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture Advisory Board and was a Director of the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, and through his career has led major research, development and extension programs and portfolios in fisheries, animal and plant health, and conservation science.


Professor Irene Penesis

Interim Research Director

Professor Irene Penesis is the Interim Research Director for the Blue Economy CRC-Co Ltd.

Irene was the bid leader responsible for developing the successful application to the Commonwealth’s CRC program. Irene is on secondment from the University of Tasmania where she leads a multi-disciplinary research team working in the field of marine renewable energy and contributes to educating maritime engineering students, at the Australian Maritime College –  National Centre for Maritime Engineering and Hydrodynamics. rene is currently leading an Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) funded project, Tidal Energy in Australia – Assessing Resource and Feasibility to Australia’s Future Energy Mix, with project partners CSIRO and UQ which started in July 2017. Irene has held several positions including Member of the MERIC Scientific International Committee since 2018, and Chair of Marine Renewable Energy Specialist Committee of the International Towing Tank Conference (ITTC) between 2011 and 2017, a peak international body developing technical guidelines and procedures relevant to the hydrodynamic testing of wave energy converters, marine current/tidal turbines and offshore wind turbines.


Jonathon Brown

Business Manager and Company Secretary

Mr Jonathon Brown is the Business Manager & Company Secretary of Blue Economy CRC-Co Ltd.

Jonathon has held several senior executive positions across various industries in both Australia and New Zealand. Prior to joining Blue Economy CRC Co Ltd Jonathon held the position of General Manager & previously Financial Controller & Company Secretary with co-operative hospitality company, Edgewater Resort in New Zealand.

Jonathon holds a Bachelor of Business from the University of Tasmania and has over 10 years’ experience in business management, finance and advisory, having worked for KPMG and a number of global hospitality & vacation exchange companies across Australia and New Zealand. Jonathon is excited to be able to apply his experience and qualifications to a global team that facilitates innovation and collaboration to help find solutions to meet global demand for food and energy.