AIPP president, John Swainston, has unexpectedly resigned from the Institute and will be replaced by board member, Melissa Neumann.
John informed the board of his resignation on March 25, providing ample time for the Institute to deliberate and elect Melissa as president.
‘The past two years has been a huge task of change management involving thousands of hours. As a volunteer, along with my colleagues on the board, councils and committees, we have made huge strides,’ John said in a press release. ‘My thanks to every one of those women and men who made their time and energy available. That workload takes its toll. After two years it’s time for me to hand over the reins to ensure the energy and drive needed to execute the strategy is available when it is most needed.’
Over three years John guided the AIPP through testing times, first as a treasurer and then as president. His positive leadership played a significant role in keeping the AIPP above water.
As treasurer he flagged a potentially disastrous financial situation in early 2018, capable of crippling the Institute if left unaddressed.
This resulted in the closure of National Office and the board resigning in March 2018.
An active member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Australian Institute of Management, John brought his expertise to effectively manage the AIPP’s reboot.
He was then co-opted onto the new board and swiftly elected president.
John oversaw the major restructure throughout last year, which involved adopting a new AIPP constitution and drafting a long-term strategy to roll out over several years.
‘John has been involved in some of the most trying times in the history of the AIPP and has led with great calmness and strength,’ Melissa Neumann, AIPP’s new president, said. ‘We thank him for his service to this community. He has left us with the foundations of the rebooted AIPP well in hand. Continuity balanced with more fresh creative thinking is where we are heading.
‘The foundations are now prepared and we are about to start to roll out many new initiatives. Our board is excited and energised and ready for the next chapter to begin. We have a great team that will work together to make our members experience better than ever.’
John was the first AIPP president not to be a working photographer, but has decades of photo industry experience and is seldom seen in public without a Nikon DSLR in hand.
He came to Australia in 1979 as group general manager of Bell & Howell Australia, responsible for Audio-Visual and Consumer Photo operations. With Bell and Howell exiting consumer markets three years later John, with industry stalwart John Bleakley, started a new company, Maxwell Optical Industries, to take on distribution of Nikon.
For the next 24 years John grew that business and acquired complementary distributorships, eventually stepping down from his role in 2015.
He also has an illustrious record in industry affairs. John is a past president and treasurer of IDEA (formerly PICA) and is currently an advisory board member of the Head On Foundation. He has also held the role of deputy chair of the Australian Centre for Photography.
While John is revered for his contributions to the AIPP as a volunteer, he leaves with complete confidence in Melissa’s leadership.
‘In Melissa Neumann the AIPP is fortunate to have someone with long-standing knowledge of the Institute, a previous term on the National Board and specific skills in education and professional development and governance. Mel has a passionate vision for a contemporary AIPP that is welcoming and innovative. The initiatives in community enhancement, membership, accreditation, advocacy, professional development and more that will be rolled out in coming months will and should be welcomed by members and non-members alike. I have every confidence that the AIPP under Melissa Neumann’s leadership will continue to advance the cause of professional photography, for everyone.’