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New hats in ring for IDEA board

Stuart Holmes, managing director of Independent Photo (IPS), has nominated for the role of president of imaging industry association IDEA (formerly PICA), with Gary Pertot, (Adeal) putting his name forward for vice-president, Consumer, and Photo Direct managing director Steuart Meers also nominating for a role on the board.

‘I actually really believe in the Australian photographic industry and really do want a vibrant, revitalised photo specialty sector in Australia,’ Stuart Holmes told Photo Counter. ‘Because photos are important, and memories are not all about mass merchant, cheap-as-chips loss leaders.

‘And marketing is not all about price, as some seem to believe!

‘We want to make a difference, and we want to cut the BS in the industry and get photography and photo printing back on to the consumers’ mindset.’

In other changes, long-time IDEA board member, Kodak Australia’s Clyde Rodrigues, has resigned, with Kodak managing director Adrian Fleming nominated to replace him.

It’s not clear whether Dave Marshall, who has held the presidency for the last four years (and has had a previous stint in the role) will stand for another term, nor whether there will be other nominations for the presidents’ role.

IDEA executive director Katherine Singson (pictured right) is yet to confirm that the nominations listed above have been formally accepted by the association. Members were notified of the meeting via email last Monday (Oct 1) and were required to nominate by Tuesday this week via fax or post, complete with two nominees from other member companies and a brief ‘campaign statement’.

The AGM will take place this year on Tuesday, October 23, at ‘Zest at The Spit’, Mosman. All members can attend the meeting to vote, or nominate a proxy to represent them.

The meeting is scheduled to commence at 3pm and be over by 3.30pm – perhaps reflecting an assumption by organisers that this year’s AGM would be another formality.

The AGM will be followed by a general meeting, with Peter Myers, executive director of the AIPP, as guest speaker.

The level of interest in contributing to IDEA at board level this year is unprecedented. Generally, board positions are simply rolled over on an annual basis. The last time there was an actual election for a position was more than five years ago.

Under the presidency of Fujifilm Australia managing director Dave Marshall (pictured right), IDEA has been criticised for becoming increasingly remote from, and not communicating with, the photographic industry and the majority of its own membership base, most of which are locally-based companies distributing into the photographic retailing channel.

Over the past several years, Mr Marshall embarked on a bold strategy of expanding the scope of the association’s activities to embrace the broader consumer electronics sector, and broadening the annual photographic equipment exhibition to include other product categories such as TVs and home entertainment. Over the past few years some $150 – 200,000  per annum has been spent on print, TV and radio advertising to attract somewhere between 8 – 10,000 consumers to the show (around $20 per consumer).

To date, the strategy of making the annual photo show more a ‘digital lifestyle’ event have been singularly unsuccessful, with the GFC dampening any enthusiasm there may have been for extra promotional opportunities among the major Japanese and Korean CE brands.

At the same time, some long-standing traditional exhibitors such as Adeal, Photo Direct,  Haldex and FVE have dropped out of the annual event, along with marquee imaging brands such as Sony, Samsung, Panasonic, Olympic and HP.

As a consequence, the 2012 Digital Show in Melbourne, which IDEA was relying on to generate revenue to maintain its executive offices, barely broke even, where in previous years it has generated hundreds of thousands of dollars.

According to sources this revenue downturn, combined with increasing overheads, has seen the association operating at an significant, uncharacteristic and unsustainable loss for  the 2011/12 financial year.


  1. Andrew Mason Andrew Mason October 12, 2012

    Great to see Stuart put his namesin the hat for IDEA President.
    One thing is for certain he will not have his head in the clouds.

  2. Phil G Phil G October 12, 2012

    Good on you Stuart and Steuart, guys that have built their own businesses with common sense and low egos, with experience but without the comfort of a multi national.

    Now to see if common sense, which isn’t so common these days, prevails.

  3. John Swainston John Swainston October 12, 2012

    News that executives from the broader church of the industry are standing for election is very welcome. As immediate past president, but neither on the board or a candidate, I’d like to add my perspective, drawn from 40 years plus in this business and 25 years of PICA Board experience.
    It’s my general my view past Board members should get the hell out of the way and leave things to the current leadership team. I stood aside after one year when it became clear that as an industry we could again have the services of Dave Marshall as president. My own organization is relatively small, and I am overseas on business more than I am here at present. I believed, and still believe, that two years ago we needed someone with international leadership experience and a strong organization behind him to lead us through what would be unprecedentedly challenging times. They have certainly been that. It’s not over, either. Leadership is not about popularity. It’s about taking people from where they are to where they have not been (H. Kissinger). This industry, the digital industry will never be like it once was. Just look at this last month’s 50% decline in Compact camera sales. in fact look at the 300,000 fewer cameras sold year to date, because people find Smartphones a better solution. But also look at how Photo Books are just beginning to create such exciting new opportunities to take those Smartphone pictures to a new value level.
    We now have a new executive director, again of a remarkably wide and helpful background, but with just 3 months behind her.
    I believe what everyone needs to appreciate is that the next 6 months are critical to completing the start of a new journey for IDEA, a concept and structure adopted without s single adverse vote at last year’s broadly attended AGM. The primary task is to ensure we get next year’s show sold and that it offers the widest possible series of values to exhibitors and attendees to embrace the whole industry.
    What we should all look forward to is a broader based Board taking in the ideas of new Board members, and the ability of the existing Board that’s been implementing a tough program of change and charting very complex financial obstacles. I’d personally hope that Dave Marshall can be allowed to complete the tasks and goals set 12 months ago, and supported by added insight from important added voices from the industry. Working together this next year has never been more important.
    As Directors, naturally, once elected the fiduciary duties of all directors are for the single goal of the organization, not of any interest group or employer interest. The fact that the Imaging industry in its digital form has so many of the key industry leaders already working under those structural constraints to a common goal should be applauded. That others wish to join in that process is also warmly welcomed. I hope they can be accommodated without risking the loss of the Current Board’s experience. Certainly our new constitution provides for it.
    I look forward to everyone remembering that the goal of IDEA (and PICA before it) is simply to grow the Imaging and (now) Digital Lifestyle Industry. Let’s work together to achieve that, as a Board, as members.
    – John S

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