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Concrete In Australia : March 2009
NEWS Growth a top priority for new chief executive by Bob Jackson Business executive Graeme Burns took over the administrative reins of the Concrete Institute from acting CEO Malcolm Boyd at the beginning of this year. Burns told Concrete in Australia that he is looking forward to growing the Concrete Institute along with its membership base and delivering on member needs. “It is also very important to work closely with the Council and the membership to determine where we want to be in the longer term,” he said. Burns believes that it is critical for CEOs to Burns said he intended to be active across have a sound understanding of the organisations they lead before they can tailor the business strategies to suit. “Opportunities for growth, from existing and new income Graeme Burns ... it is important to determine where we want to be in the longer term. streams, are most likely to be identifi ed through members, key stakeholders in industry and academia”. all Australian states and establish open communication processes to encourage ideas for development of the Institute. He also said he looked forward to regularly meeting members at interstate events and forums. Although he does not have an engineering or technical background, Burns is comfortable with the prospect of leading a learned technical society. In most of his previous management roles he said he has worked with specialists in different industries, such as property development, environmental development, financial services, telecommunications and education and training. “I was not an expert in any of these industries, but the opportunities come from the industry and management is there to identify and develop those opportunities,” he said. He has also worked with many engineers in previous management positions, fi rstly at Lend Lease early in his career and most recently at Sydney Olympic Park Authority at Homebush Bay, on infrastructure projects. Although his appointment has meant a work relocation of only a few kilometres from Homebush Bay to the Concrete Institute’s national offi ce at Rhodes, he brings with him a wealth of experience and business successes stretching from Sydney, to Switzerland to Hong Kong. As well as serving 10 years from the mid 1980s to the mid 1990s with multinational enterprises in Australian and then Europe (consulting while pursuing MBA studies at Geneva University) and in management roles in Asia (with American Express and Fashion Asia in Thailand and Hong Kong), he has also managed, the Australian Institute of Management NSW & ACT (AIM), one of Australia’s largest professional associations. While he was with AIM, he developed a number of strategic alliances with industry associations and academia. Sales increased from $9 million to $20 million and member value increased from $15 million to $21 million in a four-year period. Most importantly the individual and corporate membership base increased from 7,000 to 10,000 members. Earlier in his career he was recruited by American Express, to head up card marketing and sales in Australia and then later was appointed as the country head of marketing and sales in Thailand. Burns also set up ‘from scratch’ Fashion Asia, an international distribution and licensee manufacturing fi rm, based in Hong Kong. “At Fashion Asia we created the management infrastructure for a sales and distribution staff of 25 employees and a network employing more than 100 individuals in 10 Asian countries.” Graeme Burns is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management, a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries & Administrators. 6 Concrete in Australia Vol 35 No 1