Mr Pierce is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and was until most recently Assistant Secretary of the Department's South and Central Asia Branch. He has served overseas as Minister-Counsellor at the Australian Embassy in Washington; Chargé d'Affaires at the Australian Embassy in Rome; and Minister at the Australian Embassies in Berlin and Paris, with earlier postings in Tel Aviv and Ottawa.
Mr Pierce was the International Crisis Group's Director of Research in 2001.
Mr Pierce holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Tasmania and Master of Arts in History from Queen's University in Canada. He is married to Joanna Hewitt AO.