New leader takes charge of OzChild

THE agency which took over the federally-funded programs of the failed Community Connections Victoria Limited (CCVL) has a new chief executive officer.

Lisa Sturzenegger will lead the Melbourne-based OzChild following the retirement of Tony Pitman after 16 years.

Ms Sturzenegger has experience working with child and family charities in the United States, followed by stints as a community safety director with the Country Fire Authority and general manager of health and safety with WorkSafe Victoria.

OzChild president Chris Ralph paid tribute to Mr Pitman saying he was “the architect of the agency’s success” and had created a “work culture, quality ethos and reputation second to none”.

In the agency’s annual report released last month, Mr Pitman admitted the deal with the south-west’s CCVL was not without cost.

“Financially our entry to the west has reduced our reserves and will take three years to return the budget to surplus,” Mr Pitman said.

The report shows the organisation had an operating deficit of $1.98 million on June 30, compared to a deficit of $48,000 the previous financial year.

He said staff “rose to the challenge” to take on the “OzChild culture” and the benefits they would bring to the south-west region would “be gradual and without fanfare”.

“The west has been a heavy investment to strengthen the quantity and quality of our mission and to broaden our authority and expertise as a ‘go to’ organisation and an authoritative voice for children in Australia.

“The developments have been challenging but significant in the true purpose of the agency. 

‘‘Our goal has been to further the mission rather than to grow by collecting ‘low hanging fruit’,” Mr Pitman said.

Ms Sturzenegger will begin in her new role next February.

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