A message from FCA Executive Chair, Bruce Billson
The FCA Board is delighted to announce to FCA members, partners and stakeholders that Ms Mary Aldred has been appointed as CEO, commencing on 3 April, 2018.
Mary has been selected from a top-class field of candidates for her extensive experience across government, industry and the corporate sectors and brings a very strong focus on membership engagement, stakeholder collaboration and effective advocacy. She leaves the Committee for Gippsland after many successes in her seven years as CEO, including attracting strong government, business and community support through effective and engaging advocacy, building a growing membership base that includes several franchise businesses and establishing strategic partnerships that position the organisation for long term growth.
Having left school at 15 to work in her parent’s small business, Mary brings a real life understanding and genuine affinity with small businesses. She understands the operational and financial commitment families make in small business, along with the thrill and passion for entrepreneurialism. This perspective, combined with her executive experience, resourcefulness and success in effective member organisation leadership means that the FCA will benefit from Mary’s strong focus on membership and partner engagement, stakeholder collaboration, strong advocacy for the franchise sector and pursuit of key FCA strategic objectives.
The Franchise Council of Australia is excited to bring her breadth of experience, success and leadership to the FCA, our membership and the broader franchise community.
“The role of CEO at the Franchise Council of Australia presents a once in a once in a generation opportunity to work in the engine room of the national economy. There are transformational challenges and opportunities presenting to the industry. Sector confidence, strong advocacy, a focused and engaged membership elevating industry standards and developing the industry’s reputation as an employer of choice will be early areas of focus in my new role,” Mary said.
“The industry is about people, and I want to drive a renewed focus on the mums and dad working small businesses to create jobs, young people in our industry starting their first job, and building regard and recognition for a sector that contributes $146 billion to the Australian economy,” she said.
Her career includes Board experience, and an internship in Washingston with a US Senator. More than a decade ago, Mary worked with me as part of my Ministerial office team at which time I became aware of her considerable talents and capacity which have been deployed and further developed in the years that followed.
Mary has a BA (Hons) from Monash University, a Master of Agribusiness from the University of Melbourne, and MBA from Federation University. She studied public private partnerships at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in 2016 and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
The Board and I have set some clear performance expectations for Mary and accountabilities, particularly in relation to commercial and member engagement outcomes. An early task is to lead a review and refinement of our strategic plan to sharpen the focus on key objectives and to make sure the organisation is structured in a way that best support the delivery of these objectives and priorities.
I want to thank the FCA staff for their ongoing focus, application and commitment during the CEO recruitment process, and particularly express my gratitude to Brenda Hollander for her work and leadership as acting CEO in this interim period and the way the head office team has all worked together to make this period a very productive one.
On behalf of the Board and FCA members, may I also thank Molly Green from Alex Kaar Board and Executive Recruitment for her terrific support, advice and facilitation through the CEO search, selection and recruitment process and Norton Rose Fulbright for its pro-bono legal assistance.
I am confident the franchise community will quickly gain an appreciation of Mary’s capacities and significant ‘value-add’ to the FCA and rationale for her selection from a strong collection of short-listed candidates. We have good reason to be confident about the future and the ever improving ‘value-add’ the FCA contributes to the franchise community and our sector’s strengths as the best model of entrepreneurship.