NRMA chief executive Tony Stuart, who saved the motorists’ champion from financial ruin, has decided to step down after 12 years at the helm.
Mr Stuart told staff late yesterday he was “ready for a new adventure” and would hand over the reins from September 30: “The more you enjoy doing something the harder it is to let go, but I’ve always believed you have to know when to go.”
Mr Stuart took over in 2003 with the NRMA having just recorded a $58 million loss after three years of infighting.
“The NRMA had become a laughing stock, service levels were inconsistent and people were just sick of there being a dogfight,” Mr Stuart said.
He said a fellow staffer had bet a bottle of red wine he would not last a year as CEO.
But Mr Stuart blended a new team from existing staff and fresh recruits and focused on improving the company’s roadside assistance service while becoming a credible advocate for motoring issues.
“Making the big oil companies more transparent with petrol pricing was something I’m very proud of,” he said.
The NRMA fought for motorists to be given an extra demerit point and for speeding fines to be devoted to improving road safety. It also campaigned for major infrastructure projects, including NorthConnex, WestConnex and Badgerys Creek airport.
Mr Stuart’s tenure would go down in the company’s 95-year history as being among its “most profitable and productive years”.
NRMA president Kyle Loades said Mr Stuart’s tenure would go down in the company’s 95-year history as being among its “most profitable and productive years”.
“The organisation is almost unrecognisable from those bad old days. Tony’s leadership has helped save one of Australia’s most cherished brands and he now hands the reins over of a company that is financially secure, proud and with a bright future,” she said.
Mr Stuart, who was Sydney Airport chief executive before joining the NRMA, pointed out that one of his boardroom reforms was to implement a 12-year limit on NRMA directors.
He said he had not decided on his next career move but he would keep an eye “on innovation in the digital world”.
Extracted in full from CarsGuide.