Following the release of CSIRO’s five year strategy, Chief Executive Larry Marshall has reshaped senior leadership ranks by announcing a new, slimmed down senior management structure.
Describing the organisation as “leaner and more efficient… than a decade ago,” Dr Marshall said that the new senior management team would operate “in keeping with the need for agility.”
The key features of the new structure comprise of a five member executive team reporting to Dr Marshall. The five senior executives will manage a combined total of 26 directors and business unit managers.
Staff Association Secretary Sam Popovski cautiously welcomed the announcement.
Fewer managers must feed greater engagement
“CSIRO staff have been calling for a reduction in senior bureaucracy for some time so a smaller executive team is a step in the right direction.
“However whether this will translate into a change of attitude – to embrace a ‘bottom-up’ approach that encourages genuine engagement of research and support staff – remains to be seen.”
“Achieving cultural change requires the trust of the workforce and it’s fair to say that faith in senior management is pretty low, especially when CSIRO staff have seen 1 in 5 of their colleagues lose their jobs in the past two years,” Mr Popovski said.
Mr Popovski warned that greater efforts should be made to promote diversity and inclusion among the ranks of senior managers.
“CSIRO must do better in terms of equity and diversity, especially in regard to gender. Of the 32 senior management positions in the new structure, only eight are held by women.
“25 per cent is not good enough and CSIRO must provide greater leadership in an industry that is sadly infamous for not providing women the same senior career opportunities as their male colleagues,” Mr Popovski said.
Locating CSIRO’s environmental science within a structure that contained energy and mineral research could be viewed as controversial, Mr Popovski suggested.
“We hope that Alex Wonhas will lead the group well but the fact that we’ll have the both Energy and Minerals sitting alongside Oceans & Atmosphere and Land & Water is bound to spark debate and may not be viewed favourably by stakeholders and the community.”
“External funding for environmental science is tough to come by right now. CSIRO needs to retain its research capability and reputation as a trusted adviser on Australian and international environmental issues,” Mr Popovski said.
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