The Melbourne Press Club has appointed Mark Baker as its first chief executive officer.
The move comes after Mr Baker departed Fairfax Media late last year after fulfilling a number of senior roles for the company, including foreign correspondent, editor-at-large and editor of The Canberra Times.
He has been the press club’s president for the past three years.
ABC television’s Michael Rowland has been appointed acting president, with a formal election still to come.
Beginning 43 years ago as an occasional luncheon club, the Melbourne Press Club now hosts some of Australia’s major journalism awards, including the Graham Perkin Journalist of the Year, the Quill Awards for Excellence in Victorian Journalism, the Victorian Media Hall of Fame, the Victorian Student Journalism Prize and the Young Journalist of the Year Award.
Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama, several prime ministers, premiers and opposition leaders, industry leaders and entertainers all have taken the stage as guest speakers.
Mr Baker described his three years as president as a period of “significant growth” and said his new appointment would make the club’s operations smoother and easier for all involved, as it aimed to further expand its activities.
“We’ve had quite a strong secretariat over the years, and administrative and strategic direction has been in hands of committee – who are all working people with active professional lives.
“The advent of my new position will enable lots of that work to be picked up by the CEO, taking the pressure off the committee, who can then focus on strategy.”
Mr Baker will work three days a week, allowing him time to continue with other writing assignments. He begins work on February 4.
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