RACGP CEO steps down, leaving significant legacy

Doug Hendrie

18/10/2019 3:31:55 PM

The RACGP’s longstanding Chief Executive Zena Burgess has resigned after 12 years at the helm.

Dr Zena Burgess
Former RACGP Chief Executive Dr Zena Burgess

Her resignation was accepted by the Board with regret.
During her 12 years as CEO, the RACGP grew to become the largest representative medical college in Australia.
The RACGP’s Board extended its gratitude to the outgoing CEO for her contribution and tireless advocacy efforts on behalf of the profession and the more than 40,000 GPs in Australia.
RACGP President Dr Harry Nespolon told newsGP that Dr Burgess has overseen the transformation that led the college to become the largest medical college in Australia.
‘Dr Burgess leaves behind a more modern college. She moved the RACGP from its traditional role of education and standards to a point where advocacy has become a major part of our remit, to keep general practice at the forefront of the public mind,’ he said.
‘The Board wishes Dr Burgess all the best in the future.’
Dr Burgess advised the Board it was time for fresh energy to carry the organisation forward. Her resignation is effective immediately.
Under her leadership, the college reached new heights, with membership doubling and a range of transformational projects in the pipeline. Dr Burgess’ resignation letter paid tribute to colleagues old and new, and stated her time at the college had been a privilege.
‘Every CEO owes their success to the strength of their team and I have been fortunate to work with a highly committed, intelligent and exemplary group of people,’ she wrote.
‘One of my fondest memories of the college is the enthusiasm with which new ideas and challenges were considered and the willingness of personnel to keep striving for innovations suited to the organisation’s aspirations.
‘I leave the college proud of our achievements, confident the organisation is in a strong position, and nostalgic for the excellent experiences we have had.’
The Board will use Dr Burgess’ legacy as a platform to review the future direction of the college, ensuring general practice is positioned at the heart of healthcare in Australia.
An RACGP spokesperson said the Board and RACGP staff have been working together over the past 12 months to deliver more value to members ahead of regulatory changes set to take effect in coming years.
Current Chief Operating Officer Nick Williamson will act as interim CEO while the college undertakes a national search for a new CEO, who will be appointed as quickly as possible.

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Dr Toni Marie Weller   18/10/2019 6:28:01 PM

A true loss for the college.
She has been energetic, committed and engaging and created positive changes.
A resignation without notice can be an indicator of underlying political issues: I sincerely hope that is not the case.

Dr Irandani Anandi Ranasinghe-Markus   19/10/2019 6:55:22 AM

Shocked and disappointed to hear. A massive loss to our college. Appreciate all the progressive changes she’s contributed to and wish her the very best in her next endeavour.

Dr Peter Robert Bradley   19/10/2019 3:42:09 PM

Sorry, but there appears to be some sort of cognitive dissonance going on here. But...Oh, why bother? I've retired, let someone else come up with the bucket of cold reality.

But before I go, riddle me this. How come at this time of record growth, record financial reserves, etc, none of this 'success' has filtered down to the shareholders of this particular company. You know, the real GPs out there, battling to stay afloat after years of token or no inflation indexation, and statistically down at the very bottom of the morale and medical financial heap..? The folk who pay in all this money, in the hope it will do them some good..? Let me tell you, it has not.

Sad that no-one appears to have looked for the real state of affairs carefully enough. The college powers that be seem to have just taken the view "the books are good - the member numbers are good - therefore we're good!" Sorry, not good enough..!