Mr Yates has been the Chief Executive of the national peak body for older Australians for 20 years, taking up the role in mid-2002. Prior to this, he was Chief Executive of the COTA SA branch from 1989 to 2002.
While a date hasn't been called for when he will step down, Mr Yates intends to stay on and assist the organisation with the transition to the new leadership once they have found someone to fill his position.
Mr Yates says, "Leading the peak national consumer policy and advocacy body for older Australians for two decades has been simultaneously a privilege and a challenge."
Some of his biggest achievements while in the CE position at COTA include working for:
- The 2009 Age Pension increase of $30 per week
- The 2012 Living Longer Living Better reforms for aged care
- The successful Hands Off the Pension campaign in 2014
- The 2015 superannuation reforms, which have continued to be implemented up to the latest Federal Budget
- The 2018 Budget package 'More Choices for a Longer Life'
- The 2021 Federal Budget measures in response to the Royal Commission into Quality and Safety in Aged Care
"All of which COTA Australia has played a major role [in]. On the other hand, there are many things we have yet to achieve," adds Mr Yates.
"My commitment to the wellbeing of older Australians has not diminished in the least. But in leading a national organisation for so long one needs to think about how succession transition occurs well; and I know that this is when it happens as a planned process, not by waiting until a crisis precipitates it.
"I will continue my contribution in the other roles I have, such as Chair of the Council of Elders, and in new ventures.
"I am in good health and in good standing with our Board and staff, our constituencies, other peer consumer organisations, Government, Opposition and the media. So that’s the time to plan succession transition so the organisation can adapt and move on with all the strengths we have built up over the last decades."
Other initiatives that Mr Yates championed as the CE of COTA SA include the establishment of COTA's membership and insurance services, the national COTA magazine, national conferences and major strategic reviews.
Chair of COTA Australia, Jane Halton AO PSM, says, "Ian Yates’ contribution to the COTAs and to the welfare of older Australians has been immense over 33 years, and specifically during his 20 years in the primary national leadership role.
"It would be great if Ian could go on forever, but the real world is not like that, and Ian and the Board have agreed that this year is the right time for the transition to a new Chief Executive."
The COTA Australia Board has engaged Ian Hansen, an experienced executive search consultant, to assist in the recruitment process for a new Chief Executive of the organisation.
Once the ideal candidate is selected for the role, the organisation will have a significant transition period.
While there are no dates set for this succession transition to occur, as they are still looking for the right person for the job, COTA Australia expects the transition to be finalised during 2022.