Small business advocate Peter Strong has announced his retirement as chief executive of the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia (COSBOA) after 11 years.
Strong commenced three months leave in June, with Alexi Boyd stepping in as interim chief executive. Boyd has now been appointed as chief executive of the council, which brings together small business organisations from around the country.
Strong has played a high-profile role in supporting the nation’s small businesses over the past decade, and been intimately involved in key policy areas affecting small business, including industrial relations and vocational training, as well as the introduction of policies such as Single Touch Payroll and e-invoicing.
He said in a statement it has been a ‘privilege’ to represent COSBOA and “stand up for the rights of small business folk”.
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“I know Alexi Boyd will continue the fight and add her own experiences and skills to the battle,” he said.
Strong paid tribute to COSBOA members and its board for their “constant support”, and to the staff who have joined COSBOA in more recent years.
“The first years in the job was just me as we struggled for resources but, once we could, we attracted high quality staffers who have added depth to our advocacy; depth that has allowed us to take advantage of the knowledge and skills in our membership to influence the policies that matter most,” he said.
Strong also thanked others who had supported him over this tenure, including former Small Business Ombudsman Kate Carnell and current Ombudsman Bruce Billson; state small business commissioners, politicians, ministers and their staff; policymakers, public servants and regulators; and the media.
Boyd said she is looking forward to adding to Strong’s legacy.
“In every forum COSBOA is recognised as the leading voice for small business with considerable reputation with policymakers, leaders and media. Peter created that and I’m looking forward to building on that foundation of honest, dependable advocacy from real small businesses.”
Recently elected COSBOA chair Matthew Addison said the council is “excited for this new phase for COSBOA’s growth” with Boyd at the helm.
“Peter Strong will be missed without a doubt, but we (and Peter) know that Alexi has shown her passion for small business advocacy in her role as interim CEO,” he said.
Strong added that he won’t “fully retire” yet, and plans to continue to support the small business community, including via policy development and advocacy. He may also write a memoir, he suggested, or maybe a “how-to guide for advocacy for the common folk”.
“Either way thank you, be healthy and safe, and I’ll see you around,” he said.