Telstra chief information officer, Fiona Balfour, has won the Pearcey Medal for 2006, awarded for outstanding lifetime achievement in ICT.
A panel of previous Pearcey Medallists selected Balfour for the award ahead of more than 10 nominees. The Pearcey Medal is named after Dr Trevor Pearcey, who pioneered computing in Australia in the late 1940s. Pearcey designed and built the first stored-program electronic computer in the country, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Mark 1.
In a career spanning 27 years, Balfour has worked in both business and technology positions. She started her career as a graduate recruit with the Victorian Public Service in 1980.
Balfour worked in management consulting roles in the private sector before joining Qantas as a senior IT executive in 1992. She was eventually appointed CIO of the airline in 2001.
During this time Balfour oversaw the replacement of many of Qantas's legacy systems and the negotiation of outsourcing deals with IBM.
She left Qantas to become CIO of Telstra in April 2006.
Balfour's award was announced at a joint IT Victoria and Pearcey Foundation dinner last week in Melbourne.
She joins a select group of industry professionals to have won the award since its inception in 1998. These include John O'Callaghan, executive director of the Australian Partnership for Advanced Computing, and John Bennett, who helped develop the first stored program computer in the world.