Willie Rowe.

Willie Rowe has announced his resignation as CEO of Screenwest, due to depart next July next year or whenever a suitable replacement is found.

Rowe initially came on as Screenwest CEO in an interim capacity following the abrupt departure of Seph McKenna in September 2018, before being officially appointed for a three year term.

He was a fit for the role having previously been Screenwest chair. Rowe had also held positions such as interim CEO of the WA Aids Council, chief of staff to WA Premier Colin Barnett, a director of consulting group Gryphon Management Australia and director of policy for WA Premier Richard Court.

As CEO, Rowe helped lead Screenwest as it transitioned from a state screen agency to an independent non-profit, and as WA saw a production upswing with projects such as Mystery Road, ItchDirt Music, Rams, Upright and H is for Happiness.

Furhter, Rowe helped to secure a further $16 million for the Western Australian Screen Fund (formerly the Western Australian Regional Film Fund) from the state government. The revamped fund includes a new 20 per cent post, digital and visual effects (PDV) rebate, helping the state to compete with offerings in South Australia, Queensland and NSW.

Screenwest chair John Driscoll thanked Rowe for his achievements.

“Willie came to Screenwest, following a period of considerable change for the agency in its first year out of government. During his time at Screenwest he oversaw Screenwest’s emergence as a genuinely independent agency, during the busiest time in the Western Australian screen industry’s history. This year he’s navigated the agency and the industry through the COVID 19 crisis, with Screenwest playing a leading role in supporting and strategising for the sector through this most difficult time,” he said.

“The favourable position Screenwest and the Western Australian Screen Industry is currently in, will enable the next leader of the organisation to deliver upon the objectives within the 2021 – 2024 Strategic Plan, and lead the agency and the sector to provide significant economic and social impacts for WA over the coming years.”

Of his departure, Rowe said: “Over the first fifteen months, working with the team, we rebuilt the organisation which included a major restructure. This has delivered a highly professional and committed group of people. We have an excellent management team that I know deliver on a daily basis with a view to the future.

“I am proud of what we have achieved in the relatively short time in which I have been with Screenwest, and I know that there is a very exciting future for the Western Australian screen industry.”

The recruitment process for Screenwest’s new CEO will commence immediately.

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