As expected for several weeks, Robin James has parted company with Queensland’s state film agency, the Pacific Film and Television Commission (PFTC), where he has been chief executive for many years.
‘Robin James has decided to resign from his position to pursue other career opportunities, effective 31 March 2009,’ Phil McDonald, a director on the PFTC board, said in a statement released today.
‘Mr James has denied recent allegations made against him and resigned to ensure that the matter did not further impact upon himself or the PFTC. No decision has been made by the PFTC in relation to Mr James’s employment.
‘The PFTC will carry on with its role in initiating, facilitating and celebrating a sustainable, creative film industry. In the interim, Michael Cullinan, chief financial officer, will be acting chief executive. The PFTC will begin the recruitment process for a new chief executive in the coming weeks.’
The hostility between James, Australia’s longest-serving film agency boss, and the PFTC board, especially acting chair Jim Soorley, has been the talk of local film industry circles for months and James has been on leave for some weeks.
The allegations mentioned in McDonald’s statement concerned ‘irregularities’ in the chief executive’s overseas travel expenses, and this was being investigated. But several of Queensland ‘s most senior producers suggest that the expenses issue was just a last ditch effort by the board to remove James because it did not support his approach.
One producer said: ‘If you wanted to trip up any bureaucrat, anywhere on the planet, you would just be able to go to their expenses and find something.’
The board was overhauled and Des Power appointed chair in February 2008. Power is also chair of Queensland Events Corporation and in that role was the driver behind the Asia Pacific Screen Awards. Soorley is a former Brisbane lord mayor.