Board members have use-by dates


The people who set the law that U.S.A. presidents could serve no more than two four-year terms provided a good example for boards to follow.

While it there may be exceptions, a couple of four year terms or three three-year terms are generally enough for board members to give their best and retire while they’re still giving it.

When board members step down after a maximum of eight or nine years it provides the opportunity for others to come in with fresh energy and enthusiasm, new ideas and – if they take their role seriously – questions about what’s being done and why.

Health Minister Tony Ryall has told Southern District Health Board chair Errol Miller he won’t be reappointed. There are no questions about his contribution and leadership, it’s just time for change. 

Mr Ryall said Mr Millar had done a notable job for nearly eight years, particularly in “bringing the two boards together”.

A different set of skills was now needed, he said in a brief statement. He said he had appreciated working with Mr Millar and was sure he had “more to offer the health service” in future.

Auckland DHB chair Pat Sneddon has said he will resign after a discussion with the minister too.

Board membership have a use-by date. Good ones realise that themselves and work out it’s time to go before others push them. 

Institutional knowledge and experience and assets for boards but so too are a new perspective and different skills.

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