Newcastle-based company director Glenn Turner has been appointed Chairman of the Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI) Board, with Bob Kennedy officially retiring from the role after six years.
A smooth transition is assured as Mr Kennedy and Mr Turner have worked closely together since 2007, and both previously served as Chair of the HMRI Foundation.
Mr Kennedy was a key driving and stabilising force for the Institute during a period in which fundraising, research staff numbers and economic contribution all trebled, while 2012 brought the appointment of international Director Professor Michael Nilsson and completion of the $90 million HMRI Building.
“Devotion and quiet determination have been the hallmarks of Bob’s leadership, with his ‘can-do’ attitude inspiring those around him,” Professor Nilsson said. “We are now well placed to deliver true translational research and provide resources and opportunities for the mid-career researchers we have and also hope to attract.”
Mr Turner said HMRI had benefitted greatly from Mr Kennedy’s wisdom and resoluteness during its transition from modest regional institute to one with a burgeoning global reputation.
“We have to use the platform that’s been established to lift HMRI into being a genuine Tier 1 national institute with international recognition,” he said. “Michael’s appointment is a wonderful first step because he weds us to the world stage, and he has the experience and foresight to achieve our goals.”
Mr Kennedy said it was an ideal time for change as HMRI celebrated its 15th anniversary and embarked on a new five-year strategic plan.
“On reflection, they were exciting times,” Mr Kennedy said. “We were raising around $800,000 a year when I joined but we set a fundraising target of $2 million in three years and that was the catalyst which put the organisation on its current growth trajectory.
“It is appropriate that Glenn now leads HMRI in meeting the future challenges.”
Mr Turner is the director of a number of companies operating in the innovation and technology sector, following a 30-year career at senior executive level in the mining services, manufacturing, engineering and contracting sectors.
Mr Kennedy and his wife Terry plan to travel over coming months, in addition to operating the Beyond Broke vineyard they own in the Hunter Valley.
HMRI is a partnership between the University of Newcastle, Hunter New England Health and the community.