Interim CEO Anderson eyes VTA leadership

By: Ruza Zivkusic-Aftasi

Former boss Chambers says he leaves position with head held high

Interim CEO Anderson eyes VTA leadership
Neil Chambers enjoyed his 11 years at the VTA


The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) has turned to former Scott’s Group CEO Peter Anderson as its interim CEO following the departure of Neil Chambers.

And Anderson, an industry identity of 32 years’ experience, hopes to take up the position full time, saying he has the board’s support. 

VTA President Brendan Hopley says the decision to dispense with Chambers’ services was not made lightly.

"Sometimes these things you try to mentor people, you work with people and eventually a decision needs to be made," Hopley says.

"The decision was made last Thursday at the VTA board meeting that it was time to move on.

"Each year, we monitored the performance of every key executive within the VTA and our own business; the board is made up of volunteers, senior members of the industry so the association needs to be run to the benefit of all members."

The board’s position is that it has spent the last 15 months working on a "series of events" before asking Chambers to step down.

VTA board member Cameron Dunn says the panel made a "well-considered" decision and does not wish to disclose the reasons behind Chambers’ departure.

"If you have an accident it may happen suddenly to you but there’s a series of things that lead to that actual event; there were a series of things that led to this event," Dunn says.

"All board take their responsibility seriously and over a period of time review where their association is going and also the performance of the individuals that report to the board.

"This is a process that the board undertook and canvassed and made an executive decision; it wasn’t made abruptly."

He says the board is "not about one person" and that it was in the best interest of its members to change direction.

"We’re about a collective group of people and more importantly our members; it’s our members that create this association and what comes from that is a group effort, not by anyone individually."

Now a consultant, Chambers says he’s left the VTA with his head held high.  

"I’m not going to say anything disparaging about the VTA," Chambers says.

"Its future is no longer my concern.

"I will be a matter for its members and broader stakeholders to judge whether the VTA delivers advice, advocacy and initiatives of value into the future under its new management.

"I really enjoyed my long tenure at the VTA for over 11 years – the last two of which were as CEO," he adds.

"I believe that during that time my dedication and commitment to the VTA and its members was unquestioned and I contributed to achieving some great outcomes and fought hard on many issues for the transport and logistics industry.

"I’m really looking forward to the new and exciting challenges in my future; there are many people in the industry and in governments whom I know and respect and whom I hope to stay in contact with as I emerge with my future role."

Former CEO Phil Lovel had no say in the board’s decision, Dunn says.

Anderson was chosen due to his availability, transport experience and VTA involvement for 24 years.

He hopes to continue with the "good work, drive and motivation" that’s already in place.

"It’s about creating advocacy, a presence and a drive for us to be able to highlight issues within the industry that are important for the members," Anderson says.

"We look forward to the state election; there are so many strong programs in place by the current government of Victoria that are well supported by the VTA.

"Based upon what any opposition government may put forward as their policy, we most certainly will comment as an advocacy group."

The change sends a message to the transport industry that the VTA is ready for new challenges, he adds.

"The board and the VTA is focused on making sure it is successful as an industry association and it’s looking for new challenges in every view point.

"We very much want our members to be able to take advantage of the resources within the VTA to improve their businesses and their processes and practices and to share the knowledge that we all gather from day to day.

"This is a huge opportunity for the VTA to take that additional step to become closer and more valuable to its members and operators in general."

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