ACS hires CEO with no IT experience


Australia’s peak organisation for technology professionals has hired a new chief executive without any direct experience in the technology sector.

In a statement released late yesterday, the Australian Computer Society — which has suffered a number of problems with its leadership over the past several years — revealed that it had hired Alan Patterson to be its new CEO, effective immediately.

ACS president Anthony Wong praised Patterson, noting he had experience in working with governments, as well as a background in accreditation and professional development. “Alan is a highly qualified senior manager who possesses an excellent understanding of the challenges and opportunities that impact professional bodies,” said Wong. H”e has strong senior management experience gained while running businesses of various size and delivering organisational change.”

However, it does not appear as if Patterson will have that much in common with the members of the society which he will represent.

According to his LinkedIn profile, his most recent position saw him work for more than three years as the chief executive of the National Association of Testing Authorities. Previous to that he held a strategic marketing role for GC Japan — a Japanese owned global dental manufacturer. He was also a long-time senior executive with NSW Health.

The executive’s profile states he has over 30 years of experience in senior executive roles in strategic, policy and operational management in both the private and public sectors. An ACS spokesperson was not immediately able to comment on the issue of Patterson’s technology experience.

The organisation has suffered a number of problems with its leadership over the past several years. In February last year it settled a lawsuit with its former CEO Kim Denham, who was sacked in May 2009. In addition, its last chief executive, Bruce Lakin, left the organisation in December 2010 after just over a year in the hot seat. The ACS has been seeking a replacement ever since.

Both Lakin and Denham had experience in the technology industry — with Denham having worked as a chief information officer, and Lakin having long been a senior executive at companies like Veritas, Symantec and Teleware before taking up the ACS role.

In its statement yesterday, the ACS said Patterson had been charged with implementing the society’s strategic plan. “His leadership will help drive key initiatives that benefit our members and assist the ACS in advancing the certification of ICT professionals in Australia,” said Wong.

Executive recruitment firm Talent2 appears to have been responsible for the hire, with principal consultant Diana Williams noting in the ACS’ statement that Patterson was selected from “a strong pool” of candidates.

“Alan was the successful candidate due to his considerable experience as a seniormanager leading organisational change and his experience as a leader in services-based organisations and the not-for-profit sector,” Williams said. “The quality of applications Talent2 received reflects the importance and quality of the work that the ACS undertakes on behalf of its membership to advance ICT professionalism in Australia.”

For his own part, Patterson noted he was looking forward to the role.

“I am proud to be a part of the ACS,” he said. “I look forward to implementing the society’s strategic plan and raising the profile of ICT professionals in Australia. My initial areas of focus will include engaging with members and helping to progress the certification of ICT professionals.”

Image credit: Rob Owen-Wahl, royalty free


  1. I feel the ACS is more interested in milking cash from its lucrative international lock in deal with the government “accreditation” for university graduates. What really gets me is that the University must first certify its degree is accredited with the ACS and then when a student graduates and wishes to apply for permanent residence in Australia they have to pay the ACS to tell them that the degree they just took is accredited. The ACS in my mind represent a bunch of back stabbing thieves who do not appear to do any significant value add into any area beyond providing a nexus for social interaction in some situations. This appointment merely confirms those beliefs.

  2. NATA is a genuinely competent and very good professional group that run a tight ship. ACS is a lumbering and useless bureaucracy that specializes in screwing naiive students out of money. A competent operator who won’t put up with bullcrap is exactly what they need. Maybe this guy will actually deliver some genuine value for ACS members – I might even sign up if he can pull it off.

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