CEO announces retirement

Thursday, 3 November 2016 - 8:15am
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Mr Russell Taylor AM

The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) Chairperson, Professor Mick Dodson AM, today announced that Russell Taylor AM has formally advised of his intention to resign as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), effective 30 December 2016.

Professor Dodson said Mr Taylor has made an invaluable contribution to the sustainable development and future prosperity of the Institute.

“Russ has been a wonderful leader and a tireless campaigner for AIATSIS. His commitment to the Institute has been unwavering over the past eight years,” Professor Dodson said.

“Russ’ ability to execute the Council’s vision, to rally the troops, to be forthright in his management and advice, and to provide visionary leadership in his own right, has set AIATSIS up very well as we continue to plan for the Institute’s sustainability into the future.

“Of note during his time with AIATSIS was Russ’ appointment as a Member of the Order of Australia in 2015, recognised for his significant service to the community as a cultural leader and public sector executive in the field of Indigenous affairs. I think this appointment encapsulates Russ’ contribution not only to the public service but also for the Indigenous community and the nation.

“On behalf of the AIATSIS Council, Members and staff, I thank Russell for his service and wish him the very best in his future endeavours. We have a saying at the Institute, that ‘you never truly leave’, and in that vein I hope that though he may be about to step down, his association with the Institute continues.”

Mr Taylor began his second term as the CEO of AIATSIS in 2009 and has overseen significant transformation, culminating in a recent successful campaign to increase base funding for AIATSIS’ critical work. This is testament to Mr Taylor’s enormous capacity for building and articulating a compelling strategic vision, and creating and managing the relationships that enabled AIATSIS to reposition itself and ensure funding to face contemporary and emerging challenges.

Mr Taylor said that he has enjoyed every moment and aspect of his involvement with AIATSIS, however, it was now time for him to retire in order to pursue other aspirations.

“With refreshed legislation and increased funding, a shift in operational priorities and the launch of a foundation to assist in realising some of the Institute’s more lofty goals, AIATSIS’ future looks bright. The stage is set for a reinvigoration to drive AIATSIS into the next phase of its institutional life.” 

A small selection of Mr Taylor’s achievements includes:

  • Growth of the size, depth and breadth of the AIATSIS collection to close to 1 million items.
  • Doubling of base funding to $20 million per annum.
  • Legislation amended to refresh AIATSIS’ role and governance, cementing its place as a leader in Indigenous research and advisor to the Australian Government on Indigenous policy.
  • Independent assessment that identified AIATSIS holds the most significant collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander materials in the world, invaluable not only to Indigenous peoples and communities but also to the nation.
  • AIATSIS’ Reconciliation Action Plan recognised by Reconciliation Australia with ‘Elevate’ status, the first Australian Government agency to achieve this.
  • A dynamic public program that celebrated AIATSIS’ 50th anniversary, including performance of the historical Lorrkkon ceremony and launch of an AIATSIS 50 cent coin.
  • AIATSIS’ Australian Indigenous Languages Collection inscribed in Australia’s Memory of the World Register, part of UNESCO’s Memory of the World Program.
  • Launch of the AIATSIS Foundation by the His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retired).
  • The development and launch of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural learning course for the Australian Government.

Media release.

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