Strategic Management for the College is delegated to the College Council and operational management to the Principal.

College Governance

The Archbishop of Adelaide is the ultimate authority within the College however, responsibility for strategic management is delegated to the College Council and operational management to the Principal.

Membership of The College Council is as follows:

1. Three members elected by the parent body
2. The Principal (ex officio)
3. Five members recommended by the Council and appointed by the Archbishop
4. One member appointed by the Archbishop.

Appointments are for three years with the right to re-election or re-appointment.

Mercedes College Council Members 2021

Alf Ianniello – Council Chair

Having been on the Council for several years, I commenced my position as Council Chair in 2021, and a few months later, I retired from the role of Chief Executive Officer at Detmold Packaging, a South Australian packing company employing over 2,500 people worldwide. Together with my previous roles at British Aerospace and Schefenacker Vision Systems, in the defence and automotive industries respectively, my international experience encompasses all continents of the globe.

I have qualifications in electronic engineering and management. I deliver industry and executive seminars and have participated in a number of committees and industry bodies. I apply the same ethos of commitment and hard work to my charitable ventures, having twice led a bike-riding team from Adelaide to Melbourne. I am the Chairman of Adelaide City Football Club.

My wife Maria and I have four children: daughter Olivia and three boys – Benjamin, who graduated in 2019, and Jack and Joseph who attend Mercedes College.


Deb Dickson – Deputy Chair

I am a committed member of the Mercedes College family, a mother to two children and an experienced executive from the Banking and Finance and Public Sector arenas. I bring particular expertise from running large-scale organisational transformations and have a focus and passion around systemic change management, business performance improvement, and strategy development.

I am currently the Head of Corporate Services at the SA Housing Authority, and am working on housing and homelessness reform. I hold a Masters Business Administration, Masters Human Resource Management and Bachelor of Management.


Jane Swift 

I am the Archbishop’s representative on the Mercedes College Council and am privileged to have had this role for the last nine years. I have two adult children, and five grandsons, two of whom are currently at Mercedes. Max and Leo are both in the Junior School, while Liam Swift graduated in 2017.

I have been a teacher and principal in Catholic schools; I have also worked as an assistant director in charge of human resources in Catholic Education SA, as a Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Adelaide and as Director of Catholic Education SA. Being on the Council gives me excellent opportunities to continue to live out my passion for Catholic education and to contribute to the faith, education and wellbeing of children and young people. I have a particular commitment to excellence in education, to valuing and promoting the teaching profession, and to child protection.


Andrew Kirkbride

I am a father of three to Charlotte, Julian and Oliver, all graduates of Mercedes College, and an Ordained Permanent Deacon to the Catholic Archdiocese of Adelaide and current Chaplin to Mercedes College.

I am a member of the Mercedes Faith and Spirituality Committee and the Capital Development Standing Committee. I am a member of the Ecumenical and Interfaith Commission and the Diocesan Pastoral Council of the Adelaide Archdiocese.

I am a registered Architect AIA and director of a small practice based at Norwood SA and a member of the liturgical Architecture and Art Board of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.


Danielle Finnimore

As the Director of Human Resources and member of the Senior Leadership Team at St Peter's College, Adelaide, I am responsible for the delivery of the School Strategic Plan, as well as the development and delivery of strategic and operational HR activities. This experience coupled with my passion for education and creating an exceptional community of learning for our children is what I contribute to our Mercedes College Council.

I describe myself as an ambitious, focused, purpose-driven professional with a proven ability to build successful relationships. I possess a strong sense of justice, an analytical and objective approach to tasks, and a keen ability to provide solutions to achieve business objectives.


Scott Hicks

I am married to Catherine and have three children at Mercedes College, Isabelle, Josh and Emily. We are actively involved in the school community through volunteering at MP&FA events and coaching sports since Izzy commenced at the College in 2015.

I founded Adam Internet with my father, employed over 200 staff and provided internet to over 100,000 customers. In 2012, the company was sold to iiNet. I am owner and Managing Director of Astelec, a telco construction business with 100 staff, currently building most of the NBN, Telstra, Optus and TPG infrastructure here in SA.

I am founder and CEO of YourDC, SA’s most advanced and secure Data Centres. Located at Hawthorn and Edinburgh, we manage platforms for Defence, SA Government, Catholic Education and many other entities. For the past eight years, I have been a board member of the State Library, overseeing 150 libraries around the state. 


Helen Strachan

I am mum to current Mercedes students Matthew, Seamus and Maggie. I am also the Legal and Corporate Affairs Director for Pernod Ricard Winemakers (with wineries in Australia, NZ, Spain & the US) and a member of its Management Committee.

In addition to the Mercedes Council, I am a board member for Australian Grape and Wine Inc (‘AGW’); Chair of AGW’s Large Winemakers Committee; a member of AGW’s Audit & Finance Committee and Code of Conduct Committee; Chair of the National Wine Foundation Inc; the Wine Industry’s representative on the DrinkWise Board (the alcohol industry’s Responsible Drinking association); Wine Australia Board Selection Committee member; a member of the Australian Wine Industry Joint Strategy Committee and the Wine Industry Crisis Response Committee. I am also a member of the Association of Corporate Counsel Australia’s Leading Environmental and Social Sustainability Committee. 

I am most proud of being a mum, my role as a Diversity & Inclusion Ambassador for Pernod Ricard Winemakers, for receiving the ACC Australian Corporate Lawyer Award for Corporate Social Responsibility Excellence in 2019 and for receiving the ‘Champion of Diversity & Equality’ award in the 2020 Australian Women in Wine Awards.


Jock Duncan

Karni and I have two children, with Lily in Year 10 at Mercedes and Finn at a local primary school. I have over 20 years’ experience in senior HR/executive level roles across a variety of industries. Currently I am the Director of Corporate Services at Hood Sweeney, an integrated professional services business in Adelaide.

I have wide-ranging responsibilities, from leading our people and culture strategy, to general management responsibilities, to the delivery of consulting services to our clients. Ultimately my passions are building a high performance culture capable of achieving our strategic goals and delivering outstanding service to our clients.

A key part of sustaining this culture is connecting back and contributing to the communities we operate within – to this end, I have a key role in leading our focus on helping our chosen charities such as Kickstartforkids, which supports under-priviledged children in primary schools through breakfast and mentoring programmes.

This service mindset also led me to become involved with the governance of the College over the last four years, with a role on the Risk and Audit Committee and now on the Council. I am committed through this involvement to help maintain the school’s great legacy, as well as positioning Mercedes College as a leading educator in South Australia.


Standing Committees

Under the umbrella of Council there are several standing committees comprising Council members with skill or interest in the particular discipline, members of the parent body and members of the administration. At present these committees are:

1. Education
2. Faith and Spirituality
3. Finance
4. Marketing and Development
5. Risk and Audit