Valley Veterans | RSL NSW appoints former army colonel Jon Black for CEO job

RSL NSW announced on September 2 it had appointed a new chief executive officer (CEO).

Many in the organisation were of the opinion the recently resigned State President, James Brown, may have been successful in his bid for the role as he gave up the presidency in order to compete for the position of CEO.

LEADER: With strong credentials, new RSL NSW CEO Army Colonel Jon Black has potential to take the organisation forward. Photo: supplied by RSL NSW

LEADER: With strong credentials, new RSL NSW CEO Army Colonel Jon Black has potential to take the organisation forward. Photo: supplied by RSL NSW

It turned out the successful applicant for the role was former army colonel Jon Black. On announcing the appointment of Mr Black the acting RSL President, Ray James, has detailed that 'The recruitment process that had led us to today was comprehensive and exhaustive.

It was driven by an independent external search firm, People for Purpose, who reported into a nominations committee of select RSL NSW Board Members and an independent third-party advisor.

All short-listed candidates were extensively vetted by several parties based on the advertised job description'. Given the last few years of turmoil, I would surmise that the recruitment and vetting process would have had to have been squeaky clean as it is doubtful the RSL NSW could withstand another integrity crisis.

On the face of it Jon Black looks to have impeccable credentials for the job and has potential to take the organisation forward and out of the doldrums brought about by disgraceful antics of a former leadership group.

During his 24 years of army service, Mr Black has held several notable appointments.These include the role of Deputy Chief of Staff to the Multinational Force and Observers in the Middle East.

He has been the Commanding Officer/Chief Instructor at the Royal Military College, Duntroon and was even selected as Military Assistant to the Chief of Army.

While his defence background will provide him with context and understanding of issues facing the RSL and veterans in general, it is more likely to be Jon Black's extensive experience beyond his army time that have armed him to complete the repair job required on RSL NSW.

In recent years Jon Black has been Managing Director of TAFE NSW at a time when he was required to lead a state wide change management program.

ONWARD AND UPWARD: Jon Black CEO RSL NSW with Ray James President RSL NSW. Photo: supplied by RSL NSW

ONWARD AND UPWARD: Jon Black CEO RSL NSW with Ray James President RSL NSW. Photo: supplied by RSL NSW

I will make the assumption that his success in this endeavour was closely reviewed by those vetting him for the role of CEO RSL NSW. Jon Black has also held executive positions with the Queensland Government departments of Environment and Heritage Protection, and Energy and Water Supply and the SEQ Council of Mayors.

By nature of the CEO role Jon Black will not be the face of RSL NSW that deals with the Sub Branches and members, that will be up to the president, secretary and other elected members who step into the breach.

What Jon Black must do is enact the direction from the board that should be based on the will of the membership, implement required changes and make some tough and potentially unpopular recommendations to the board in the interest of putting back some gloss on the recently tarnished brand.

Continuing with the implementation of reforms identified in the wake of the Bergin enquiry will be the biggest challenge for Jon Black to tackle and with yet another proposed constitution to be voted on at October's RSL NSW Congress who could blame RSL Sub Branch members across the state if they remain somewhat sceptical.

And where will James Brown pop up next?

His social media posts advise that he is returning to regular employment and he goes on to congratulate Jon Black on his appointment. Stay tuned.

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