THE Fremantle Chamber of Commerce has appointed a North Fremantle marriage celebrant with a history of event management and corporate consulting as its new CEO.

The chamber announced this week Danicia Quinlan would start in the role on March 11, a fortnight after the somewhat surprising departure of her predecessor Olwyn Williams.

Ms Quinlan, who graduated from UWA with a bachelor of commerce (management and marketing) in 1992, has been a director of management consultants Pastel Blues Consulting in Fremantle since 2010 and made her mark on WA’s cuisine by launching the cheese-lover’s Festival Fromage in 2016.

She also spent two years on the board of the Fashion Council WA, which runs the Perth Fashion Festival and worked as its executive director for about 18 months. Ms Quinlan was a public affairs advisor with Woodside Energy

But Ms Quinlan’s career hasn’t been without some controversy. An events organiser issued legal threats over the cheese festival in 2016, claiming Ms Quinlan had poached the idea while working for the fashion festival.

Ms Quinlan confirmed to WA Today that the pair had met and the woman’s desire to see the successful Adelaide Cheese Festival reproduced in Perth had been discussed, but refuted any legal claim to the idea.

“We don’t believe she has any legal grounds to make or sustain those claims, and her attempts to disrupt our business are wrong,” Ms Quinlan said at the time, saying her business partner had conceived the Festival Fromage idea.

The inaugural cheese festival also made headlines for the wrong reason when ticket-holders turned up on the opening day to find the Perth town hall wasn’t big enough for them all at the same time and many had to queue for an hour.

Chamber of commerce president Ivan Dzeba said Ms Quinlan’s diverse background was a bonus.

“Danicia’s diverse background will add significant experience and depth to the chamber’s team and we look forward to working with her to deliver on the chamber’s new strategic plan and engage with local businesses to maintain and develop a thriving business community,” Mr Dzeba said.

Ms Williams, who said she would be seeking “new opportunities” when announcing her resignation, signed off to members with the salutation “It’s has been grand” [sic].

“Fremantle has always been a place of the greatest potential and I [am glad] that we are soon to step out with new marketing which is essential for the business community of today.”

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