Online election changes dynamics at AIIA

Some unexpected results emerged from the first online election for board members of the Australian Information Industry Association showing that future candidates will have to adjust their lobbying techniques to keep up with online advances.

When the new board members were announced this week it was clear that some big names were missing. It was suspected, moreover, that those big names would have been ret hot favourites to be elected under the old system, where last-minute lobbying at the AGM would have guaranteed enough votes and proxies to ensure success.

Under the electronic system, conducted by election.com, everyone has a chance to vote in person and at any convenient time via the Web. The convenience and extended time scale for the election meant that the number of votes cast this year was 112 per cent higher than it had been in 1999. Not one proxy vote was returned, although the option had been provided.

"Geography is no longer a barrier to participation in elections for our members, who are spread throughout Australia," noted AIIA executive director Rob Durie.

It will be interesting to see how candidates adjust their pre-election posturing for election 2002 to exploit the new system and cope with the ubiquity of the Web.

In the wake of the election Alan Baxter handed over the chairman's reins to John Gwyther, managing director of TUSC Computer Systems; David Thodey, managing director of IBM Australia is deputy chairman; and John Stockbridge, managing director of Netsource is treasurer. Other members of the board are:

Graeme Barty, managing director of HarvestRoad;Alan Baxter, managing director of DMR Group Australia;Frank Berger, CEO of Mincom;Paul Burrows, managing director of Bullant;Nick Cuthbertson, managing director of Protech Australasia;Adrian Di Marco, general manager of Technology One;John Filmer, director of corporate and government at Cable & Wireless Optus;Peter Frueh, executive director of indirect channels at Telstra;Paul Houghton, managing director of Microsoft Australia;Phil Kerrigan, CEO of Fujitsu Australia;John Price, managing principal of JSP Associates; and Karl-Henrik Sundstrom, managing director of Ericsson Australia.

Two big guns form heavyweight advisory

Dr Paul Twomey, who left the CEO's job at the National Office of the Information Economy in July, has joined forces with Ira Magaziner, a former domestic policy adviser to US President Bill Clinton, to form the Argo P@cific international advisory and investment firm.

Twomey explained that Argo P@cific works with clients to establish operating businesses and provides a range of advisory services for both start-up and well-established companies wanting to build global Internet businesses. It also works with technology companies to help establish international partnerships.

Twomey said he and Magaziner believe that Australia is one of the leading producers of innovative products and companies, but that those companies often lack the international linkages necessary for building globally successful businesses.

"Many Australian companies, particularly IT-based organisations, are undervalued due to a perceived lack of global links and opportunities for their businesses," Twomey explained. "Argo P@cific will remove this barrier for these companies, providing the opportunity to develop strong Asia/Pacific and global strategies from an Australian base."

Argo P@cific has offices in Sydney and Melbourne www.argopacific.comAround the trapsWayne Bos, CEO of Tomorrow Ltd, and Rod Lyle, managing director of Tomorrow, have been appointed to the board of VivaNET. The appointments followed a large investment by Mid-East Minerals (to be renamed Tomorrow) in VivaNET.

John Bennetts and John McCormack have resigned as non-executive directors of VivaNET.

Hewlett-Packard has created the two new executive positions of chief technology officer and chief science officer to boost its science and technology management team. Richard DeMillo has been recruited from Telcordia Technologies to take the CTO's job, while Stephen Squires, an architect of the Strategic Computing and High Performance Computing programs at the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency, has been appointed CSO.

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