Ms Totaro has previously worked in management and communication roles in the public and private sectors, and has more than 15 years’ experience in the ADR industry including with the Institute of Arbitrators & Mediators Australia (IAMA) and the Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration (ACICA).
"I have had the privilege to work closely, and in partnership, with some of the best in the international dispute resolution space," Ms Totaro said.
"I am looking forward to working in an expanded role with the CIArb Australia board in further advancing Australia’s position in the cross-border dispute resolution market."
The institute’s board made the internal appointment after having engaged Ms Totaro as a consultant in 2014.
According to a statement released by the CIArb, Ms Totaro’s appointment comes as the global demand for arbitration and ADR services to resolve commercial disputes rises.
CIArb president Albert Monichino QC said Ms Totaro’s skills would go far to promote opportunities for the institute.
"We are fortunate to have Gianna on board as she is a highly regarded professional whose skills and experience will assist us in generating and promoting more opportunities for the organisation," Mr Monichino said.
The appointment was also endorsed by retired High Court judge the Hon Michael Kirby.
"I am delighted that Gianna has been appointed CEO. I came to know her well in 2009 when I was elected president of IAMA [now the Resolution Institute]. She was the head of its secretariat, the first woman in that role," Mr Kirby said.
"She displayed creativity, energy and a deft skill in promoting professional and public knowledge about ADR," he said.
Mr Kirby is a panel member for the Arbitration Panel of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes for the World Bank.