01.CHOICE names new CEO
New CHOICE CEO, Alan Kirkland, says extending the organisation’s reach in a changing marketplace, and strengthening ties with members, consumers, businesses and government will be among his top priorities when he starts work at the end of the month.
Achieving these goals will mean building on the momentum put in place by outgoing CEO Nick Stace, who is returning to the UK to be closer to family and take up the position of CEO of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.
“Technology is shifting the way we shop and what we buy, and CHOICE needs to ensure that its unique advice is available to consumers however, whenever and wherever they choose to shop,” Kirkland said. “I am committed to ensuring CHOICE continues to drive innovation, to further enrich the services provided to CHOICE members, and to ensure that all consumers get a better deal.”
CHOICE Chairwoman Jenni Mack said Kirkland won the role due to his strong leadership and advocacy skills and his long experience in fighting for consumer rights. Kirkland has held senior management roles with the Australian Law Reform Commission, Legal Aid NSW and the NSW Council of Social Service and has had a hand in policy development, organisational change management and public engagement projects.
Mack said Kirkland has the right mix of experience and values to “influence the decisions being made in government and boardrooms around the country and ensure the consumer’s voice remains strong".
As CEO of Legal Aid NSW, Kirkland brought about a 20% increase in Commonwealth funding for the organisation and secured additional state funds for homeless, domestic violence and children’s services. He is the Chair of the National Legal Assistance Advisory Body and a member of the Prime Minister’s Council on Homelessness.
A statement by Legal Aid NSW staff following his departure last year said Kirkland had led the organisation “through a period of successful growth and change”.
“Alan will be remembered for developing rapid, innovative legal responses to meet emerging legal needs. He also worked hard to bring all segments of the broader legal assistance sector together to deliver better services for clients,” the statement said, adding that Kirkland is “approachable, considered, transparent and efficient” in his approach to management.
Of being named the new head of The People’s Watchdog, Kirkland said, “it is an honour to join an organisation that is trusted by consumers for its history of fierce, independent advocacy.”