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Franchise association to shift focus as executive director departs

Thursday, 17 January 2013 | By Michelle Hammond

The Franchise Council of Australia has flagged a shift in focus following the resignation of executive director Steve Wright, who has been commended for his “tremendous” contribution.


FCA deputy chairman Stephen Giles told StartupSmart Wright resigned “about a month ago” after working for the council for five years.


“He made a tremendous contribution to establishing… relationships with the various stakeholders across the country and also the media,” Giles says.


“With that role largely complete now, the FCA will be looking to consolidate those relationships in an environment where there’s a lot less heat.


“We’re looking at things now to embrace the benefits to members in areas like education, whereas Steve’s focus was essentially on representation. We’re looking to give the FCA a broader focus now.”


Wright led the FCA through some tumultuous times for the franchising sector, namely the introduction of state-specific franchising codes in South Australia and WA.


Giles says Wright resigned following a discussion with the board, but insists his departure was on amicable terms.


There’s no word yet on who will replace Wright, with Giles suggesting the FCA may undergo an internal restructure rather than finding a replacement. The FCA’s chairman is Michael Paul.


Wright could not be reached for comment. However, Giles doubts he will take up another role within franchising.


“His background was in public relations and communications and stuff like that. I would be surprised if he doesn’t go back into that in some form, as opposed to running an industry organisation,” he says.


Moving forward, Giles says the FCA is keen to help small businesses in general, rather than focusing solely on franchises.


“Some of the small business groups who have been representing the interests of small business have not really focused on what we would see as core issues,” he says.


“They tend to have a handout mentality and constantly complain to the government about this, that and the other [whereas] we support the competitive framework of the marketplace.


“We want to see the reduction of red tape and the reduction of penalties, making it easier for small business to compete.


“We’re looking to find like-minded organisations. We’ve been in discussions with people like the ARA… to say how can we improve the small business environment to make it easier for small business to compete and remove some of the government-created obstructions?”