Statement from auDA Chair Stuart Benjamin

Posted by auDA on 28 July 2017

Today I have taken a very difficult decision to stand aside from my role as Independent Chair of auDA three months before the expiry of my term as an Independent Director.

I have reached the view that there is no possible positive outcome for the organisation from the vote planned for Monday.

I believe a new Chair would be better placed to continue the change program I have been leading.

auDA is an organisation that did not change for a long time, and it has been through a period of accelerated change in recent months. The Board will continue with the Registry Transformation Project and the implementation of direct registration for .au. In the coming weeks, there will be a number of announcements about our successes in these areas.  

Driving transition is hard for the Board, it can sometimes be hard for staff and it’s clearly created concerns for some members.

The Board and myself do not resile from the decisions or directions we have taken and I am immensely proud of what we have achieved.  

In the past nine months I have led the Board’s implementation of a new governance regime reflecting the recommendations of the Cameron Ralph review, and a business restructure to better meet the strategic objectives of the organisation.

As Chair I have overseen an increase in policy generation, in effective oversight, and in good governance.

We have also commissioned some of the largest member consultation projects in auDA’s history.

However, the auDA Board and members need to forge a different way of working together and I think there is a better chance for that to happen if I step away.

Everyone at auDA is open to robust criticism on strategy, policy and decision-making – that interaction makes us stronger. When that healthy engagement devolves into personal attacks on board members, the capacity of the organisation to attract and retain good people is affected. 

I will continue to take a stand against cyber bullying and will not be deterred in standing up to anyone who thinks it is acceptable to personally attack staff and directors. I do not want my experiences to discourage others from running for election, or accepting an appointment, to this important organisation.

My 5 years of involvement with auDA have been immensely rewarding and I leave confident that the organisation is well positioned for the future.