Mark Skidmore has resigned as the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) chief executive and director of aviation safety (DAS) after less than two years in the role.
In an email to staff on Thursday, Skidmore said the decision to step down was made for personal reasons.
“I have decided the time is right for me to make this move. I came on board at CASA to lead the organisation through a period of significant and difficult change and I am very proud of what we have achieved through the transformation program,” Skidmore said in the email.
“We have been able to reshape the way CASA operates and delivers its services in a positive way.
“It is an appropriate time for me to hand over the leadership as CASA moves through the next phase of its improvement program.”
Skidmore, who started his five-year term in January 2015, will stay on until October as CASA begins the search for a new director of aviation safety and chief executive.
CASA said “interim acting arrangements” would be announced shortly, while the process to appoint a new chief executive and DAS was expected to take between six and nine months.
During Skidmore’s tenure as chief executive and DAS, he undertook an organisational overhaul of CASA’s structure, forming three main groups – a stakeholder engagement group, an aviation group and a sustainability group – as part of the aviation safety regulator’s response to he Aviation Safety Regulatory Review (ASRR).
The retired RAAF Air Vice-Marshal has also sought to respond to the views of industry, including issuing a new timetable for regulatory changes, including those covering general operating rules, air transport operations, aerial work, continuing airworthiness and maintenance for small aircraft, small aircraft maintenance licensing, sport and recreational operations and unmanned aircraft.
Despite all this, there remained parts of the aviation community that expressed frustration at the slow pace of change at CASA.
CASA chairman Jeff Boyd thanked Skidmore, who was named a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) in September 2015, for his service.
“Mark has made an enormous and valued contribution to CASA and to aviation safety in this country,” Boyd said.
“This has included a number of significant improvements including restructuring the organisation, the development and implementation of CASA’s new regulatory philosophy and the implementation of just culture throughout the organisation.
“This has contributed positively to the way aviation regulations are developed and implemented in consultation with the aviation industry.”
Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester also thanked Skidmore for his service and wished him “all the best for the future”.
“CASA has undergone significant change under the stewardship of Mr Skidmore as the organisation works through the recommendations required in response to the 2014 Aviation Safety Regulation Review,” Chester said in a statement.
“I remain focused on working with the board and staff of CASA, in partnership with industry, to maintain and enhance our safety record and, just as importantly to support a viable aviation industry.”