Directors & KMP

Directors & KMP


Michael Chaney AO

Chairman – commenced 2021

Mr Chaney AO was appointed Chairman on 1 July 2021. He is currently Chairman of Wesfarmers Limited and was previously Chairman of Woodside Petroleum Limited (retired April 2018) and National Australia Bank (retired December 2015); a former Director of BHP Limited (retired October 2005) and Managing Director of Wesfarmers from 1992 to 2005.

Mr Chaney holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Business Administration degrees from The University of Western Australia and worked for eight years as a petroleum geologist in Australia and the USA. He completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School in 1992 and has also been awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from The University of Western Australia.

He is former Chancellor of The University of Western Australia (retired December 2017) and former Governor of the Forrest Research Foundation (resigned December 2020). Mr Chaney was previously Chair of the National School Resourcing Board (retired October 2023) and a Director of the Centre for Independent Studies (retired July 2022).

Mr Chaney is Chair of the Nomination Committee and a member of the People & Culture and Exploration & Growth Committees.


Stuart Tonkin

Managing Director & CEO – commenced 2013

Mr Tonkin is a mining engineer with more than 25 years’ experience working in the underground hard-rock mining industry. He was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Northern Star in November 2016 and had been the Company’s Chief Operating Officer since 2013. Prior to joining Northern Star, he was Chief Operating Officer for mining contractor Barminco, and a Non-Executive Director of African Underground Mining Services Ghana. He has extensive experience in the production of gold, copper, zinc and nickel and has held senior operational positions with Oxiana and Newmont in Western Australia.

Mr Tonkin has a Bachelor of Engineering (Mining) with Honours from the Western Australian School of Mines and a WA First Class Mine Manager’s Certificate.


John Fitzgerald

Non-Executive Director – commenced 2012

Mr Fitzgerald has over 35 years’ resource financing experience and has provided project finance and corporate advisory services to a large number of companies in the resource sector.

He has previously held senior positions at NM Rothschild & Sons, Investec Bank Australia, Commonwealth Bank, HSBC Precious Metals and Optimum Capital. Mr Fitzgerald is a Chartered Accountant, a Fellow of the Financial Services Institute of Australasia and a graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Mr Fitzgerald is Chairman of Medallion Metals Limited, Non-Executive Chair of Turaco Gold Ltd and was previously Director of Danakali Limited, Chairman of Exore Resources Limited, Carbine Resources Limited, Integra Mining Limited and Atherton Resources Limited.

Mr Fitzgerald is Chair of the Audit & Risk Committee and a member of the Nomination and People & Culture Committees.


Nicholas (Nick) Cernotta

Non-Executive Director – commenced 2019

Mr Cernotta is a mining engineer having held senior operational and executive roles in Australia and overseas over a 35 plus year period. He has considerable experience in the management and operation of large resource projects, with a track record for improving safety performance, managing costs and improving operational efficiencies, across multiple commodities and international jurisdictions.

Most recently Mr Cernotta served as Director of Operations at Fortescue Metals Group, Chief Operating Officer (Underground, International and Engineering) at MacMahon Holdings Limited and most relevant as Director of Operations for Barrick (Australia Pacific) Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of Barrick Gold Corporation, with international assets in Africa, PNG and Saudi Arabia.

Mr Cernotta is currently Non-Executive Chairman of Panoramic Resources Limited and a Non-Executive Director of Pilbara Minerals Limited and Venture Minerals Limited. He was previously Non-Executive Chairman of ServTech Global Holdings Ltd and a Non-Executive Director of New Century Resources Ltd.

Mr Cernotta is Chair of the People & Culture Committee and a member of the Exploration & Growth and Nomination Committees.


Sally Langer

Non-Executive Director – commenced 2021

Ms Langer has more than 25 years’ experience in professional services across a variety of sectors, including substantial experience in the resources sector, where she has advised both ASX-listed and private boards on talent, organisational design, succession planning and leadership. Ms Langer has also been responsible for management functions including strategy, business development, budgeting and human resources. Originally qualified as an accountant with Arthur Andersen, Ms Langer spent time in their insolvency, corporate finance and management consulting practices before transitioning into Executive Search initially with Michael Page and subsequently Derwent Executive, where for 13 years she led Derwent’s national Mining Practice based in Western Australia.

Ms Langer is a Non-Executive Director of Sandfire Resources, the Gold Corporation, MMA Offshore and Federation Mining.

Ms Langer is Chair of the Environmental, Social & Safety Committee and a member of the Audit & Risk, Nomination and People & Culture Committees.


John Richards

Non-Executive Director – commenced 2021

Mr Richards is an economist with more than 35 years’ experience in the resources industry. He has held strategy and business development positions across several mining companies and has worked extensively in the investment banking and private equity industries. He has been involved in a wide range of mining M&A transactions on a global scale.

Previous experience has included Group Executive – Strategy & Business Development at Normandy Mining Ltd, Head of Mining & Metals Advisory (Australia) at Standard Bank, Managing Director at Buka Minerals Ltd and Operating Partner at Global Natural Resources Investments (GNRI).

Mr Richards is Chairman of copper producer Sandfire Resources Limited and Lead Independent Director of mineral sands developer Sheffield Resources Limited.

Mr Richards is the Chair of the Exploration & Growth Committee and a member of the Audit & Risk and Nomination Committees.


Sharon Warburton

Non-Executive Director – commenced 2021

Ms Warburton is a Chartered Accountant with experience in the construction, mining and infrastructure sectors, holding senior executive positions at Rio Tinto, Brookfield Multiplex, Aldar Properties PJSC, Multiplex and Citigroup. Ms Warburton is a Non-Executive Director of Worley Limited, Wesfarmers Limited and South32 Limited. She is also an Independent Director of Mirvac Funds Management Australia, Thiess Group and Karlka Nyiyaparli RNTBC Aboriginal Corporation.

She was formerly the Co-Deputy Chair of Fortescue Metals Group Limited, Chair of the Australian Government's Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility, Non-Executive Director of NEXTDC Limited, Gold Road Resources Limited and Blackmores Limited, along with a part-time member of the Takeovers Panel and on the Board of not-for-profit organisation, Perth Children’s Hospital Foundation.

Ms Warburton holds a Bachelor of Business (Accounting and Business Law) from Curtin University. She is a Fellow of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, the Australian Institute of Building and the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She was awarded WA Telstra Business Woman of the Year in 2014 and was a finalist for The Australian Financial Review’s Westpac 100 Women of Influence in 2015.

Ms Warburton is a member of the Audit & Risk, People & Culture, Environmental, Social & Safety (ESS) and Nomination Committees.


Marnie Finlayson

Non-Executive Director – commenced 2022

Ms Finlayson is a minerals processing engineer with extensive mining experience having held a number of senior leadership and operational roles across a range of commodities including iron ore, diamond, base metals and coal.

Ms Finlayson was appointed Managing Director of Rio Tinto’s Battery Materials business in 2021 and is responsible for building Rio Tinto’s battery materials portfolio through targeted investments in assets, technology and partnerships. Prior to this appointment, she was Managing Director of Rio Tinto Borates & Lithium overseeing Rio Tinto’s Borates operations in California and Europe, as well as the Jadar lithium project in Western Serbia.

Ms Finlayson holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Minerals Engineering) with Honours from the Western Australian School of Mines in Kalgoorlie.

Ms Finlayson is a member of the Environmental, Social & Safety Committee, Exploration & Growth and Nomination Committees.


Ryan Gurner

Chief Financial Officer – commenced 2015

Mr Gurner is a Chartered Accountant with extensive financial and commercial experience spanning over 20 years across Australia, Asia and Europe. Prior to joining Northern Star, Mr Gurner was the CFO and Company Secretary of ASX & TSX listed RTG Mining Limited. Previously he has performed senior financial roles at Sakari Resources Limited, a SGX listed top 50 company, ASX listed Mincor Resources Limited and was Manager at PwC Perth and London Offices. 

Mr Gurner holds a Bachelor of Science Degree with Honours and a Bachelor of Commerce Degree. 

Mr Gurner was re-appointed Chief Financial Officer of Northern Star in December 2021 after previously being in the CFO role prior to the merger with Saracen Minerals Holdings in February 2021.


Simon Jessop

Chief Operating Officer – commenced 2021

Mr Jessop is a mining engineer with over 30 years’ of technical and operational experience in the mining industry covering underground and open pit operations throughout Australia.  Prior to joining Northern Star, Mr Jessop was COO at Saracen Mineral Holdings and has held numerous General Manager roles for Evolution Mining.

Previous roles have included Operations Manager at Panoramic Resources at Lanfranchi Nickel Project, Manager of Projects at Panoramic Resources, Project Manager – Agnew and Cosmos for Byrnecut Mining as well various other roles throughout his tenure.

Mr Jessop studied at the WA School of Mines in Kalgoorlie achieving a Bachelor of Engineering (Mining) as well as a Bachelor of Science (Mine and Engineering Surveying).  Mr Jessop is the holder of a First Class Mine Managers Certificate of Competency.


Hilary Macdonald

Chief Legal Officer & Company Secretary – commenced 2016

Ms Macdonald is a lawyer with over 30 years’ experience in private practice and industry with particular focus on corporate and mining law. A Graduate of Bristol University, England, Ms Macdonald qualified as a solicitor in London and was admitted to the Supreme Court of England and Wales in 1990, and to the Supreme Court of Western Australia in 1995.

Prior to her appointment as Northern Star’s General Counsel with executive responsibility for legal, Ms Macdonald has provided legal services to Northern Star continuously since 2009, commencing with the acquisition of the Paulsens gold operations. 

In addition Ms Macdonald has executive responsibility for Environment, Social Performance and ESG engagement.