Skidmore resigns as CASA CEO and director of aviation safety

written by australianaviation.com.au | August 25, 2016
CASA Director of Aviation Safety Mark Skidmore AM (CASA)
Mark Skidmore AM (CASA)

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.

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“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.

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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.”

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14 Comments

  • Glenn Cuffe

    says:

    Whatever the reason for his departure Skidmore has not delivered, especially for GA.

  • Me

    says:

    What a load of trollop. The guy has been the biggest dissapointment in recent aviation history.

  • Max

    says:

    Next CASA head needs to come from the usa, where things actually work.

  • Will

    says:

    When is AVMED going to get a broom through it. It’s discraceful!

  • shanksy

    says:

    Good ol ‘Skids’…he’ll be sorely missed.

  • paul

    says:

    When do they ever deliver?

  • aussieflyer

    says:

    Maybe now the Civil Aviation Safety Authority can appoint someone who has spent a career within CIVIL aviation who understands the industry and knows what needs to be done to reform aviation regulations in Australia to promote GA especially.

  • PeterL

    says:

    Poor Mark Skidmore has come up against the worst of the Public Service in CASA. An organisation that is stuck in the past and thinks they are gods and everything they do and say is correct.

    Mark came from the military where orders were followed or else. Going to CASA must have been a huge shock for him, no wonder he has left.

    Maybe CASA needs a few good sackings to show that their old practises, which were even worse in the past, are unworkable and new blood infused to reinvigorate CASA. While the old guard remains it will be hard for anybody to change CASA.

  • Matty

    says:

    GA will continue to decline in Australia and the actions of the CASA are not wholly to blame. When faced with flying a 1970’s dinasour or a modern plastic fantastic, many pilots will head to the modern aircraft. Most of these sit within the auspices of RAAus. The annual DITRE survey does not consider RAAus, GFA HGFA or ASRA aircraft to be general aviation. With large numbers of weekend flyers migrating to these associations, GA will continue to decline.
    • Each year the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) surveys all aircraft operators to compile the General Aviation publication. The information you supply provides the only comprehensive data relating to the Australian general aviation industry, and is used by government and industry for planning purposes and for the provision of air safety services.
    • This survey covers activity for the period 1 January to 31 December .
    What if my aircraft is registered with RA-AUS, GFA, HGFA or ASRA?
    • Aircraft registered with Recreational Aviation Australia (RA-AUS), Gliding Federation of Australia (GFA), Hang Gliding Federation of Australia (HGFA) or Australian Sport Rotorcraft Association (ASRA) should not be included in this survey. Details of flying in these types of aircraft are controlled directly from the relevant association and BITRE collects summary data from those associations.

  • Greg

    says:

    This is the time for CASA to get someone whom is well respected in the Aviation SAFETY Industry. CASA needs change ! All eyes will be on this decision.

  • walter

    says:

    The saddest part about all this is that the general public, the media & CASA themselves think this is a sad time the CEO is going, little does anyone know other than those effected by such a poorly run regulator the real truth is Australian aviation at the grass roots level is all but deceased mainly ’cause of CASA!
    CASA is an industry all on it’s own producing nothing!

    Australia, the only third world country (especially where aviation is concerned) where you can drink the water !!!

    RIP General Aviation.

  • Paul Craig

    says:

    Most interesting and equally unsurprising that the overwhelming response to this article is from embittered GA people who are just sick and tired of excessive bureaucracy that adds from little to negative outcome for safety and kills the very industry it is supposed to protect and encourage, you know the one that pays for its existence.
    Aviation is full of innovation but the administration is focussed on heavy commercial aviation at the expense of the breeding grounds of pilots who all come out of light aviation. My local aero club (North Qld Aero Club) have been forced, after 75 years at Cairns airport, to move to a small regional airport at Mareeba by increasing landing fees and decreasing support. They are kicking goals but its not through support from the pen pushing gods above, rather despite them and through hard work and community support.
    The privatisation of all major airports leaves ever decreasing options for training and economic GA flight ops. The right to access these should be “administered” and protected by CASA but they are too busy with high level waffly rebadging of existing rules as people of fat salaries seem always want to do. The review process was expected to improve the whole over-bearing approach CASA is renowned for but several years on where are the tangible results in reduced costs for no loss of safety outcomes for GA? 5 year gabfest and another few years of moving the deck chairs while everyone involved in the process has no skin in the game. In the meantime low margin GA has to come up with more money to comply with non-productive administration
    Shame on CASA

  • Matty

    says:

    The Federal Government sold off airports years back. Who an airport owner lets use their airport is their business much the same as you decide who can and who cannot come through your own front door. That’s why at some you’ll see in ERSA a note stating ‘Prior Permission Required’. The only difference is the federally leased airports (22) which are still under a level of control via the Federal Department of Transport – not CASA.

  • Martin

    says:

    Hi PeterL,

    My guess is that you are ADF or ex ADF and are obviously having a go at the Public Service. Have you worked at CASA and have you had any direct exposure to the public servants that are undoubtedly trying their best to do their job well there??

    The random comment about CASA public servants thinking “they are gods and everything they do and say is correct” seems like a sweeping generalisation and could just as easily be turned around and applied to the military personnel in Defence. Would you appreciate such an unsubstantiated dig? .

    The comment about “orders were followed or else” doesn’t always result in a good outcome. It might be military discipline but hundreds were needlessly killed in trench warfare because they followed orders (or were killed by their own when they didn’t follow those orders). Public servants act on instructions. They perform even better when well lead. I can’t (and wouldn’t) comment on Mark Skidmore as I don’t know him from a bar of soap.

    Yes “a few good sackings” will really fix things up. This is usually a good way of getting rid of remaining talent for the sake of trying to stack the organisation with “yes men” (or women)!

    Feel free to reply with more specific examples of where you see fault with CASA so that they can hopefully learn and improve where they have gone wrong. See for example the CEO reports from the various aviation industry associations published in Australian Aviation. They generally give praise where praise is due and substantiate any criticisms they give.

    Finally, don’t apply for the CASA CEO role. You will be grumpy and so will all the staff you are supposed to lead.

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