Waratahs boss new PIAA CEO

Former Waratahs rugby boss Jason Allen will succeed Bill Healey as PIAA chief executive from Monday with a mission to transform the industry.

Allen was selected on the strength of his history of turning around underperforming companies and organisations as the association grapples with the changing industry.

PIAA president David Leach told ProPrint that Allen’s transformation skills fit a key requirement of the position and that he was the best of a wide field of candidates who all could have done the job.

“He has a long record of success in leading turnarounds in big and small companies and has outstanding leadership skills that allow him to devise and implement strategies,” he says.

“Allen built a good team at the Warathas that helped lead them to victory which is a testament to his leadership and communication skills that the industry needs.

“We strongly believe that his talent, depth of experience and thirst for innovation will deliver positive outcomes for our members, and for the wider printing industry, throughout his tenure as chief executive and beyond.”

[Related: More PIAA news]

Allen’s appointment is the result of an intensive search following Healey’s retirement in April after four years in the role.

Allen inherits a raft of fledgling initiatives started during Healey’s tenure as the association tries to stay relevant in a rapidly changing print landscape.

These include the $11.5m Future Print program, increasing research and industry transition projects, and numerous negotiations with the government to improve the lot of Australian printers.

While Healey had originally planned to bring the new chief executive along slowly with a handover sometime early next year, Allen will now take over on July 20 with Bill staying on as a full time consultant until his contract is up in May.

Leach says this arrangement was Healey’s idea and it is in the best interests of the organisation and will allow Healey to focus on programs like Future Print as they draw to a close mid next year.

“Bill has done an amazing job and we knew we couldn’t find another Bill, so we looked for someone who could work with him and the board to continue his success,” he says.

“Bill comes from a politics and association background while Jason has worked in the corporate world as well as with organisations like the Waratahs that have a lot of passion behind them.

“There are a lot of projects the organisation is running or planning that are in Bill’s areas of strength so he will continue to make an ongoing positive contribution.”

[Related: Bill Healey retires]

Healey is on holiday and did not answer his phone, but says in a statement that Allen’s background will complement the board’s vision for the future of the association.

“Like all organisations PIAA needs to constantly reinvent itself to remain relevant.” he says.

“Jason has shown in his previous positions that he has the skills required to transform organisations.

“I am sure he will work with the board to implement a strategy to take advantage of the opportunities that have been identified, to ensure the ongoing success of the organisation.”

In the same statement, Allen says he accepts the challenge with ‘confidence, determination and fierce ambition’.

Allen was NSW Waratahs rugby union team chief executive for 4.5 years until March, where the club won the 2014 Super Rugby title and saw record membership and crowd numbers.

He resigned last year amid friction with coach Michael Cheika, but said the ‘challenging’ relationship helped the team achieve success.

Before the Waratahs he was chief executive of Australia’s largest V8 Supercars event, the Clipsal 500 Adelaide, in 2008-10, and national general manager for consumer and retail sales at Vodafone Australia in 2004-2008.

Like Healey when he took up the PIAA mantle in 2011, Allen has no print experience.

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