Former head of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's MH17 Taskforce Matthew Anderson to take war memorial reins

A career diplomat who helped lead the response to the tragic downing of MH17 in Ukraine will become the next director of the Australian War Memorial.

Australia’s deputy high commissioner to the UK and former ambassador to Afghanistan, Matthew Anderson, will succeed Brendan Nelson in the role in 2020 and is expected to start in March.

Before joining the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr Anderson spent eight years as an Australian Army officer, including three as a troop commander in the Royal Australian Engineers in 1988-91. He has 32 years experience in government — including his army stint — and served as high commissioner to Samoa in 2007-11 and to the Solomon Islands in 2011-13.

After finishing with the army in 1995, Mr Anderson joined DFAT as a graduate. Nearly 20 years later, he served as the head of the MH17 task force after the aircraft was downed in Ukrainian airspace in July 2014, killing 298 passengers, including 38 Australians.