Well, yes and no. We aim to keep every success, and pay tribute to Paul by building on his strong legacy.
Paul Boyatzis is a phenomenon. An exasperatingly determined negotiator – yes he wants everything in the log of claims, and the biscuits too thanks. Best accept now before the price goes up. A canny entrepreneur who has diversified the AMA WA with a unique stable of businesses and activities. Whether it is the charm offensive, or just making it clear that there will be a political price if you don’t see your way to fixing the problem, Paul has been the General, the SAS, and many times the infantry for doctors. His determination and ability to ask “why not?”, when it would be easier to acquiesce, are probably not understood by many of the doctors who have benefited from his advocacy on so many issues.
No other state AMA is like WA. They do not have the businesses, the resources, the revenue, the investments to be the power house behind the advocacy. Many are not the responsible body for public hospital award negotiations like AMA WA.
Our business divisions that contribute revenue include a Medical Products division that now sells Australia wide online and a Financial Services division that has a bespoke insurance brokerage where members can be sure their interests come first. We have an associated Foundation that funds the Dr Yes program, an initiative that brings medical students into high schools state wide to educate kids about drugs, alcohol, STIs and mental health. Health Training Australia is an associated company that is a successful registered training organisation for apprentices in health and other areas. AMA WA is also developing other business opportunities, such as a training college in Joondalup.
Three years ago we began a process to manage the transition from Paul to the next generation. The aim that I had as President at the time was to keep the good while ushering in the new, understanding that no key person can go on forever. Paul meantime undertook renewal of the senior executives which continues. The team around Paul has been key to achieving the results for members. The Council in parallel worked on Constitutional reform to establish a small commercial Board in accord with modern thinking on corporate governance. The Directors, who are office bearers, and some elected Councillors, undertake the fiduciary responsibility that comes with being on the various Boards of our corporate entities.
The Nominations Committee, consisting of the President Omar Khorshid, the Vice President Mark Duncan-Smith, past President David Mountain and myself as Immediate Past President independently undertook a search for a new CEO with the aid of a professional search firm. This was an arduous task given the enormity of the risk involved after thirty years of stable leadership but we were impressed with the standard of applicants : a testimony to the success of AMA WA under Paul. We have now selected a successor, Dr Bennie Ng, who is a terrific appointment. There is a lot of work to do now mentoring Bennie into the role but as with the rest of the process, the Board has it in hand and will work with Paul, Bennie and the staff to ensure it is a safe smooth transition..
The legacy of Paul Boyatzis will be for us to build on our success an even better, modern, agile and diverse AMA that has world class governance without unnecessary bureaucracy. The best way we can show our appreciation for what Paul has done will be to make his and our unique success sustainable for generations to come.