Mr Richardson is a former diplomat with more than 30 years’ experience in the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). He served most recently as Australian High Commissioner to Nigeria (2013-15) with non-resident accreditation to Cameroon, Gabon, Niger, Benin and The Gambia. From 2004-2008, Jon was High Commissioner to Ghana with responsibility for Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia and Togo.
As High Commissioner, Jon developed high level contacts with political, government, business, civil society and opinion leaders; provided analysis of political and economic developments; advocated Australian views on a range of international issues; undertook frequent public speaking and media engagements; oversaw Australian development programs; and helped to resolve sensitive consular cases. He played a very active role in promoting trade and investment, with a strong focus on the resources sector, education and infrastructure.
In DFAT’s Africa Branch 2008-11, Jon played a key role in elaborating and implementing the then Government’s policy of strengthening Australia’s engagement with Africa, focused on four pillars – political and security cooperation, economic ties, development assistance, and people-to-people links. This included substantial analysis of Australia’s interests in the mining sector in Africa, and forging mechanisms for closer consultation between government and industry in the sector.
Jon also headed DFAT’s Resources and Business Liaison Section, representing Australia at the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and the Kimberley Process on Conflict Diamonds. He led consultations with Australian stakeholders on joining the Voluntary Principles Initiative on Security and Human Rights in the Extractives Sector.
Jon previously worked as a lead negotiator on Australia’s Free Trade Agreements with Singapore and the United States. He served as Counsellor at the Australian High Commission in London in the 1990s, covering Africa and the Commonwealth among other issues, as well as in Moscow and Belgrade, acting as Charge d’Affaires during the wars in the former Yugoslavia in the early 1990s.
Mr Richardson graduated from the Australian National University (BA Hons, First Class) and earned an MBA from Henley Business School, UK.