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‘Generational change’: three new board members at PIAA

The industry’s peak body has reinvigorated its board with three new high profile appointments: Richard Celarc, executive chairman of Opus Group; Theo Pettaras, owner of  Sydney’s Digitalpress; and Tom Eckersley, managing director of Queensland-based Eckersley Group.

Celarc Pettaras Eckersley
(l-r) New PIAA board members Richard Celarc, Theo Pettaras and Tom Eckersley.

“The board has taken a very proactive, deliberate approach to succession planning and generational change,” Andrew Macaulay, CEO of the Printing Industries Association of Australia (PIAA), told Wide Format Online.

PIAA andrew macaulay
'Delighted': Andrew Macaulay, PIAA

‘It took the view that we needed to find board members who represented the future of the industry. We actively sought interest from members who are business owners in mid-career, equity stake-holders invested in the industry with a vision of where they see the industry going.”

Macaulay said the changes were part of a two-year board succession strategy set in place by PIAA president Walter Kuhn, which earlier this year saw the appointment of new board members John Georgantzakos of Spotpress (as NSW representative, replacing IVE Group’s Matt Aitken) and Sarah Leo, who replaced retired veteran Peter Lane in South Australia. 

“All organisations need succession planning and reinvigoration,’ said Macaulay. “Like many institutions, the association had fallen into the trap of not replacing board members and that can lead to stagnation.

“We’re delighted to welcome printers of the calibre of Richard Celarc, executive chairman of Opus Group, Theo Pettaras, owner of Digitalpress, of Tom Eckersley of Eckersley Group.”

Celarc, whose Opus Group includes Canberra-based government printer CanPrint, becomes the ACT representative; Pettaras takes the National representative role formerly held by Chris Segaert; and Eckersley is the new Queensland board rep – the seat formerly held by Kuhn. 

“We thank Chris Segaert for the extraordinary contribution he’s made over two decades,” said Macaulay. “It was Chris himself who was driving the need for change and saying, ‘Guys, you need to find a replacement for me because the industry needs young blood, it needs new people and new ideas.’”

Kuhn said succession planning was essential for the success of the industry.

“These things don’t just pop out of the sky, there’s hours and hours of work that goes into ensuring that you’ve got the right talent, the right capabilities and the right mix on the board. Succession planning is something that I’m very big on. I believe that without the correct succession planning you don’t have an organisation because at the end of the day, no-one is indispensable. We’re only on this earth for a short period and you can’t have board members sitting on boards for too long because you need fresh ideas, you need different ideas. Our industry is changing so fast so that what was adequate for an association three years ago isn’t adequate anymore.

Kuhn said this week’s successful Print to Parliament event in Canberra underlined his optimistic outlook for the future.

‘The future looks extremely bright,” he said. “The industry is getting more and more recognition in all the right areas. We as an industry just need to keep working together because, collectively, we’re a powerhouse.”

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