Tennealle O’Shannessy appointed IDP CEO and Managing Director

IDP Education
28 September 2022

Originally published Wednesday 10 August 2022

Following an extensive global search, IDP Education’s Board of Directors is pleased to announce Tennealle O’Shannessy has been appointed Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director.  

A powerful leader in global education, Ms O’Shannessy has a proven track record of building successful digital businesses with a customer-centric approach – experience that aligns with IDP’s ambitious strategy to reinvent the international education sector.  

Ms O’Shannessy will join IDP from her current role as CEO of Adore Beauty, Australia's leading online beauty marketplace, replacing Andrew Barkla, who has held the role since 2015.  

Prior to Adore, Ms O’Shannessy spent almost 10 years in global leadership roles at SEEK, where she led the expansion of multinational education services and digital platforms.  

While at SEEK, Ms O’Shannessy led the establishment of Online Education Services, a public-private partnership between SEEK and Swinburne University which was awarded as the winner of the 2015 BRW Fast 100.  

As SEEK Learning Head of Strategy, Ms O’Shannessy was also responsible for strategy, business development, commercial partnerships and mergers and acquisitions. Following this, she was appointed Strategy Director for SEEK International and finally Managing Director, Americas.  

Peter Polson, IDP Education’s Chairman, said that in the appointment of Ms O’Shannessy the Board of Directors had found a dynamic, experienced leader who will accelerate IDP’s vision and strategy.  

“Tennealle’s experience and leadership within the global education, digital platforms and e-commerce sectors resonated with IDP’s Board,” Mr Polson said.  

“Tennealle is the right person to build on our successful strategy and empower our global teams to help more people achieve their lifelong learning and career goals,” he said.  

Ms O’Shannessy will lead IDP’s global team of 5,000 employees, together with a 12-person executive team.  

“Supported by IDP’s experienced, global leadership team, Tennealle will bring a new level of strategic insights and product expertise to our organisation that will position IDP for its next phase of growth,” Mr Polson said.  

Mr Polson said Ms O’Shannessy and IDP were united in shared values of customer-centricity and supporting teams to grow.  

“IDP is a people business. It is the combination of our unrivalled expertise, innovative spirit and human compassion that has made us an industry leader. Tennealle embodies these qualities,” he said.  

Ms O’Shannessy said this opportunity brings together her leadership and sector expertise with her passion to help empower people through access to education. 

“I am excited to have the opportunity to return to the global education industry, where I have spent a significant part of my career. I am passionate about the transformative role education plays in improving people’s careers and lives and am energised by the important role IDP plays in guiding and enabling this,” Ms O’Shannessy said.  

“Building on the strong foundations and people-first culture of the business, I look forward to leading IDP through the next phase of the company’s journey with a continued strong focus on delivering an exceptional student experience and a connected community,” she said. 

Andrew Barkla, outgoing Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, said he was delighted Ms O’Shannessy would be stepping into the role.  

“I am excited to see Tennealle lead IDP into our next chapter. With a clear strategy, positive momentum, and expert global team, IDP is transforming our global sector,” Mr Barkla said.  

Ms O’Shannessy joins IDP in February 2023.  

Murray Walton, IDP's Chief Financial Officer, will assume the role of interim CEO from 10 September 2022 until Ms O’Shannessy commences with IDP.  

About Tennealle O’Shannessy 

Tennealle O’Shannessy is a growth CEO with twenty-five years’ professional experience including scaling online education and employment platforms and e-commerce businesses.   

Ms O’Shannessy was previously the CEO of Adore Beauty, Australia's number one online beauty retailer, where she led the successful listing of the company on the ASX in 2020. She was recognised as No. 1 in the Top 50 People in E-commerce in 2022. 

Prior to this Ms O’Shannessy spent almost 10 years with SEEK, a global market leader in online employment marketplaces and education services, where she most recently held the role of Managing Director – Americas. She also held a number of global strategy-focused positions at SEEK including the start-up and scaling of Online Education Services, a public-private partnership between SEEK and Swinburne University which was awarded the 2015 BRW Fast 100 winner. Previously Ms O’Shannessy was a consultant with global tier-one management consulting firm Kearney, focusing on strategic and operational CEO-agenda issues. 

Ms O’Shannessy is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and holds a Master of Business Administration (Deans List Honours) from the Melbourne Business School as well as a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and Bachelor of Business (Management) from Monash University. 

For further information please contact: 

Investors & Analysts

Craig Mackey

IDP Education Limited

+61 3 9612 4400


Rhys Ryan   

Porter Novelli  

+61 4 2722 7719