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Shake-up at Devonport Business Association

Flagstaff Team

Gone after six months… Rob Vickery

The chair of the Devonport Business Association has resigned suddenly and another member has also stepped down.Rob Vickery, an outspoken leader who advocated change for the association away from funding public events, resigned at the board’s March meeting after only six months as chair. The venture capitalist said the departure of his business from the Devonport Business Improvement District (BID) made his role on the DBA board untenable.Prior to the March board meeting, member Alistair Davidson submitted his resignation, saying he lacked the spare time to put work into the voluntary DBA position.The resignations come after a tumultuous year for the board, which before Vickery became chair faced heavy criticism from some members over the handling of submissions on Auckland Transport changes to pedestrian crossings, bus stops and car parks on Victoria Rd. The board is also in the throes of developing a new strategic plan.Board member Michael Moughan, the principal of commercial law firm Devon Lane, has become chair, with another board member, software entrepreneur Bruce Grant, taking up a new role as deputy chair.Moughan said the board had been working towards a refreshment of the DBA’s 2022- 2025 Strategic Plan and was looking forward to engaging with the BID membership soon on some new ideas and plans.Moughan said Vickery formally resigned as chair and from the board by email on 13 March. Though there was technically scope for a person without a property or business inside the BID to be on the board or chair as an associate member, “it would be quite unusual for the board to be chaired by someone who is no longer a full member and we can understand Rob’s decision to step down from the role as he focuses on growing his business internationally.”By the time Vickery became chair, the criticism of works on Victoria Rd had largely abated and the board was refocused on developing a revised strategy, Moughan said. “Rob was an enthusiastic board member and as chair provided much-needed leadership. Importantly, he placed a renewed emphasis on seeking feedback from the wider membership, and was responsive to it.” Moughan said he hoped to develop a plan to encourage businesses to relocate or start up in Devonport to meet gaps in community demands. Lobbying for improvements to Lake Rd was also a priority. In the short term, he wanted to identify four or five key board priorities and then develop detailed plans “that have wide support and enable us to deliver results”.Vickery said in a statement that with the growth of his firm in overseas markets, it had decided not to renew the lease on office space in Devonport. “Without a formal base within the BID jurisdiction, it has made my role as a board member and chair untenable.“During my time as chair, we began to rethink the DBA’s strategy and tactics to deliver measurable value to local businesses. I look forward to seeing how this develops.”

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