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NICTA CEO Hugh Durrant-Whyte resigns

Amid differing opinions of how NICTA will survive after June 2016 without funding from the Australian government, the research agency's CEO Hugh Durrant-Whyte has announced his resignation.

National ICT Australia (NICTA) CEO professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte has announced his resignation as a result of having "differences of opinions" with the board of NICTA about the strategies and governance structures required to secure the future of the organisation beyond June 2016.

In a statement, the board of NICTA said it reluctantly accepted Durrant-Whyte's resignation, admitting that the differences between the two parties are unlikely to be resolved.

During May's federal Budget, the Abbott government declared that it was going to cut all funding for NICTA by mid-2016, and suggested that the research agency look towards the private sector for funding to survive.

So far, a number of NICTA projects have received commercial backing over the past two years, including scoring an AU$18 million contract with the US government to protect the software used to operate unmanned and autonomous drones.

NICTA chair Neville Stevens paid tribute to Durrant-Whyte's four-year contribution to the organisation as CEO.

"Under Hugh's leadership, NICTA has continued to grow its research excellence and is internationally recognised as one of the premier ICT research centres in the world," he said. "Equally, Hugh has made great strides in linking that research excellence with business to produce wealth for Australia."

Durrant-Whyte intends to remain with NICTA until early next year to assist in the transition to a new CEO and work with NICTA research and business leaders on ongoing projects. But until a long-term successor is appointed, NICTA said it intends to appoint Duane Zitzner, a member of NICTA's International Business Advisory Group, as CEO.

Zitzner has had an ongoing involvement with NICTA over the last seven years in his current role, and was previously an executive vice-president of Hewlett-Packard.