Appointment of Independent Lead Director to AIBS Board

30 March 2023

I am pleased to announce that the Board of AIBS has appointed Fiona Jolly to the newly created role of Independent Lead Director. Fiona has a vast level of experience in corporate governance and we expect that through the new role, she will facilitate best practice, efficiency and accountability in the way in which the Board functions. 

Fiona’s appointment is a landmark for AIBS. She is the first ever AIBS Board Director who is not a building surveyor. Her skills in marketing, business strategy and innovation, government relations, legal, governance and risk management, to name just a few will be invaluable to AIBS. 

I will briefly re-cap on why the Board has chosen to appoint a Director who is independent of building surveying.

The appointment of Independent Directors was one of the recommendations of the governance review commissioned by the Board over 12 months ago and conducted by consultant Nic Carr. I have mentioned this in previous communiques and in Australian Building Surveyor magazine last year, so I won’t say too much more here, other than to emphasise that the review was commissioned because the Board wanted to know if AIBS was operating as efficiently and professionally as possible. Now that we have approval to operate a professional standards scheme, it is essential that we function in a way that reflects modern corporate culture.

The review recommended appointing Directors who are not building surveyors but could bring to the table other skills essential to the proper operation of a Board. It was also recommended that an Independent Director should assume the newly created role of Lead Director. The Lead Director and President will work together on the Board. The Lead Director’s job is to manage the Board itself. Apart from no longer having to manage the Board, the role of President remains unchanged, which is to manage AIBS, its members and all of the technical issues around building surveying including direct advocacy. 

Late last year, the Board advertised nationally for an Independent Lead Director and Fiona was selected from over 20 applications. Fiona was the standout candidate and the right fit for us. She has legal qualifications and is a barrister and solicitor in the ACT. Among her current director positions, Fiona is a Director of the Classification Board, the government organisation responsible for classifying films and computer games, a Director of Choice (Australian Consumers Association), and a Director of Goodwin Aged Care Limited, Canberra’s largest provider of retirement and aged care living. 

One of the key areas of Fiona’s expertise is considerable experience advising and leading Boards of businesses operating in highly regulated environments and also facing change. Those scenarios will sound very familiar to members.

The appointment of Independent Lead Director of the AIBS Board is initially for a 12 month period and the Board looks forward to working with Fiona.

Finally, the environment in which AIBS operates has increased in its complexity and the challenges it presents for us have been very evident during my time as President. It will no doubt continue to evolve rapidly. Managing a Board in this ever-changing environment is becoming a full time job in itself and this, in addition to managing all of the member and building surveying matters and, at the same time, working as a building surveyor now requires the support of an Independent Lead Director. The role of Independent Lead Director taking on management of the Board is welcomed by me as President and I am sure it will also be by future AIBS Presidents.

The Board firmly believes that this new role will be an asset to AIBS now and into the future and we look forward to working with Fiona over the coming year.
Kind regards,

Troy Olds
AIBS National President