Ric Wells has been appointed as the new Australian Ambassador to France. He will replace David Ritchie, who has served in Paris since March 2008 in addition to postings in London, Columbo and Apia.
Mr Wells is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and until recently was Deputy Secretary of the department, a position he held since June 2009. He is also Ambassador for Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), a position he has held since July 2009.
From April 2005, Mr Wells was Head of the China Free Trade Agreement Task Force and, later, concurrently Head of the Japan Free Trade Agreement Task Force and Korea Free Trade Agreement Task Force.
From 2003-2005, Mr Wells was First Assistant Secretary, South Pacific, Africa and Middle East Division, and in 2002 he headed the White Paper Task Force. Between 2000 and 2002, Mr Wells was Assistant Secretary, Asia, Americas and Trade Branch, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
Previous experience in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade included assignments as Assistant Secretary, Trade Policy and Industrials Branch (1999), Deputy Head of the Australian Mission to the WTO in Geneva (1995-1999), and Assistant Secretary, Services and Intellectual Property Branch (1994-1995). Mr Wells has also had postings to Cairo (1980-1985) and Jakarta (1987-1989).
Mr Wells holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Sydney and is married.
In 2009, France was Australia’s ninth largest foreign investor with a total investment of AUD $22.9 billion. The country will be a focus of Australia’s Centenary of Anzac (2014-18) commemorations. The two countries co-operate militarily in Afghanistan as part of the ISAF force, and the Foreign Minister, Kevin Rudd, is keen that the two countries should work together at the Cannes Summit on global economic growth as well as make the most of France’s chair of the G20 in 2011.