Interview: Birks steps down as AIIA chief

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Interview: Birks steps down as AIIA chief
Ian Birks at the 2010 launch of the AIIA's Green IT whitepaper. Credit: AIIA

Board seeks successor.

Australian Information Industry Association CEO Ian Birks has announced plans to step down to focus on his own business ventures, after three years in the role.

Birks announced his decision publicly today after speaking with the AIIA board last week.

He said he planned to remain in the role for a further three to six months until a successor was appointed and a handover achieved.

Birks told iTnews he hoped to spend more time on his research and advisory business Skrib, which had been “kept in the wings” while he headed up the association.

He had also been a director of enterprise IT research organisation Ideas International since 1987, and planned to seek additional directorships after stepping down from the AIIA.

“I’ve been here for three years and that’s quite a long time,” Birks told iTnews today. “What I do at the AIIA consumes 100 percent of my time ... Skrib’s been kept in the wings.”

While a replacement had not yet been appointed, Birks said the AIIA CEO should be “someone with a strong ICT background and a cultural fit” with the mid-sized organisation.

Tasks ranged from speaking with Government Ministers and the media to cleaning out rubbish bins, he said.

Birks said the NBN’s role in the 2010 Federal Election, securing the new NSW Government ProcureIT contract and working with the Federal Government on a national e-waste scheme were highlights of his time as CEO.

He hoped his successor would promote the “true success of the digital economy” – a topic that the AIIA claimed had been underplayed in favour of filtering and connectivity issues during the 2010 Federal Election.

With the Internet Industry Association and Australian Computer Society also undergoing leadership changes, Birks acknowledged that his announcement came at an “interesting time” for the Australian IT industry.

He hoped the changes would encourage greater collaboration between the organisations, noting that Australia’s digital economy required a “strong and effective” IT industry to be successful.

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