Communication void led to PIAA friction

PIAA members say a breakdown in communication was the cause of friction that ultimately led to president David Leach’s shock departure. Leach’s resignation came just days after he sent a letter to members defending the association from increasing criticism, and requesting members give it time. Leach sensationally resigned as president of the peak industry body on Monday, after receiving personal attacks by phone and email that increased over the past few weeks. His resignation came less than a month after the sudden resignation of the Jason Allen just weeks earlier after only six months in the job. The PIAA say the resignation of its president will not impact their search for a new CEO which will go forward as planned.

David Leach 2014

Shock exit: president David Leach

When it comes to communication, board member Chris Segaert is urging members with queries to speak to the PIAA directly. “If members really want to know what is going on they should ask the board, not people who have no idea,” Segaert says. “Some people who are not even full members are making statements that are not true and are erroneous.” Some members are unhappy about changes the association have made in the past six months, but say the cause of their frustration is a lack of communication. Member Tom Eckersley from Print Approach in Queensland says the PIAA haven’t communicated the details of their three year plan, which was mentioned in the letter sent to members last week. “No one knows what the plan is or if there even is one… if there is a plan then why hasn’t it been communicated to members,” Eckersley asks. “I think that the lack of communication and feed back to members has culminated in members, when there is uncertainly it creates a lot of anxiety and friction.” Eckersley admits changes were necessary within the association to reflect the industry’s development in past decades but he thinks the changes weren’t properly communicated. He says, “They expressed a need for change but it has been executed in a way that the member base didn’t appreciate or didn’t like. “Change is good but [the PIAA] need to communicate why the changes are necessary and what they are.” Not all members are concerned with the recent departures. One print business owner who wishes to remain anonymous says he is too busy with his business to keep up with association affairs. Similarly director of Carbon8 Kenneth Beck says he is also not interested. He says, “We aren’t engaged enough to have a valid opinion, people should think more about their business than complaining that a peak body is doing this or that.” The status of the Special General Meeting called for by members is unclear. The organiser of the Meeting has more than the 50 required signatures, but Leach’s resignation has taken some of the steam out of the situation. One signatory says, ‘Now is the time for cool heads, not heated rucks.’ The majority of the signatories are from Queensland, with members there increasingly unhappy about the sackings of staff and lack of Board representation.

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