Less than nine months after it was appointed, the executive board of InternetNZ has resigned en masse, vacating its positions on March 31. The resignation was confirmed by InternetNZ president Peter Macaulay, who says he is “relieved” at the board leaving. Macaulay says staff “are a lot happier,” after the resignation of the board, and hopes it will lead to a new structure being put into place that is better for the society overall. Macaulay declined to provide further information on what brought on the resignation of the board, however, citing employment issues and privacy concerns around these. Computerworld understands that the board resigned after it felt that the InternetNZ council interfered with its governance, and staff management. An acting chief executive will be appointed on Monday from one of three internal InternetNZ candidates, with a formal search being embarked on at the same time, Macaulay says. The new CEO will be sought through a personnel agency he says, after consultation with InternetNZ society members. Executive board member David Farrar, a long-standing InternetNZ veteran, was asked by Computerworld to comment, but declined to speak. David Farrar was appointed to the InternetNZ executive board in December last year, replacing Peter Dengate-Thrush who joined in July that year, but resigned due to a conflict of interest. Also on the board were former communications minister Paul Swain and Snapper Card CEO Miki Szikszai. Judy Speight and June McCabe were the two other board members. Swain, however, says that the executive board didn't resign, but agreed with the council that the layer of governance it represented wasn't necessary.
According to Swain, the restructuring if InternetNZ last year that resulted in the Executive Board being appointed created confused lines of reporting.
"We had an executive director reporting to us [the board] and also the manager of the InternetNZ Shared Services Unit. The SSU manager also reported to the council — the executive board wanted things done, but so did the council, making the structure difficult to operate. Staff were also confused," Swain says.
The board and the InternetNZ council had discussed making the lines of reporting clearer and it was mutually decided that a single chief executive was preferable, says Swain. As InternetNZ's new budget year starts on April 1, it was agreed that the executive board would leave on March 31.
"We inherited a structure that was introduced in good faith, and gave it a good try, but it was almost impossible to operate," Swain says.