JDRF Australia CEO, Mike Wilson OAM, to retire from role

June 07, 2024

The JDRF Australia Board is today announcing that after 20 years of dedicated leadership, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mike Wilson has decided the time is right to retire from his role later this year.

The Board is thankful for the significant contribution Mike has made over many years, including making substantial progress for people with T1D in Australia.

Under Mike’s leadership, JDRF received substantial investment into the T1D Clinical Research Network (T1DCRN), the Insulin Pump Program, the Centre of Excellence in WA, and philanthropic support for the T1D Fund, on top of general fundraising results. JDRF now delivers an annual program of high-profile events and a portfolio of important community programs, and is a strong voice in all forums for people with T1D.

Mike has also helped establish T1D as a bipartisan policy priority at the Federal level, delivering a T1D-focused commitment in each of the last eight election cycles, including $273m in 2022 towards access to continuous glucose monitors for all Australians with T1D.

Mike was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia in 2020 for significant services to diabetes research, and in 2023 JDRF Australia was a national finalist in the Telstra Best of Business Awards under his leadership.

Mike Wilson said leading JDRF Australia and working on behalf of the T1D community was the honour of a lifetime.

The sole purpose of JDRF is to deliver a world without type 1 diabetes, and I am confident that we are closer to delivering that ambition thanks to the work of JDRF Australia’s terrific people, highly accomplished Board, passionate volunteers, and generous donors.

“Most of all, I am grateful for the wonderful support of the passionate T1D community. They are why we exist, why we are motivated, and why we must – and will – ultimately succeed.

JDRF Australia Chair, Ian Narev, said:

I want to recognise the enormous contribution Mike has made during his time at JDRF.

“I first worked with Mike in 2007; 17 years later, the energy and commitment he brings to his role remain as strong as ever. Those qualities, combined with the skills and experience he has developed over such a long period, have made him an exceptional CEO. His personal contribution to the T1D community in Australia, and indeed globally through his work with JDRFI, cannot be overstated. It is no surprise he has become so highly respected by all our stakeholders.

Appointment of new JDRF Australia CEO

As a result of this change and following a global search, the JDRF Australia Board is delighted to announce the appointment of Sydney Yovic as its next CEO.

Sydney is currently the Chief Strategy Officer and Chief of Staff to the CEO for JDRF International in New York. She is an experienced and capable leader in this field, spending the last 12 years in senior roles at JDRF International in the United States. Sydney also has a Bachelor of Science and a Masters in Public Health.

Ian said:

We are fortunate to have someone of Sydney’s calibre and capability joining JDRF Australia. Sydney’s extensive international experience provides a strong platform for the continued success of JDRF Australia.

“Sydney was born in Australia and we’re looking forward to welcoming her home in her new role as CEO of JDRF Australia.

Sydney said:

I’m thrilled to be joining the team in Australia and thank the board for the opportunity to continue progressing the important work of JDRF.

“Having long worked with Mike and a number of the Australian directors and staff members in my current role, I’m very familiar with the organisation and look forward building on the strong foundations already in place. I look forward to building on the progress and impact already underway as we drive cures for T1D.

Sydney’s appointment is effective on 19 August 2024. Mike will remain involved with JDRF for a period after that date, ensuring a smooth transition for Sydney and in support of key projects such as the pursuit of additional funding for JDRF’s Clinical Research Network.

For more information contact JDRF at