Franchise lawyer Stephen Giles is retiring from the Franchise Council of Australia board after 25 years.
Under the FCA’s constitution Giles, a partner at Norton Rose Fulbright, was due to retire at the next AGM. However he decided to advance his exit to allow the board time to appoint a suitable replacement.
Giles will remain involved in assisting the executive team on industry policy matters and submissions whenever they require.
FCA chair Brendan Green announced the news to members, and thanked Giles for his “outstanding contribution to the FCA board, which will be more formally acknowledged in the coming months”.
Board positions included three stints as chair
Over his 25 years as a board member, Giles has been elected to a wide number of voluntary positions. He has been FCA board chairman on three separate occasions totalling over 12 years. He was also Victorian chapter president for four years, chair of both the Ethics Committee and the Legal Committee, and treasurer of the FCA Conference Committee.
Giles was awarded the FCA Outstanding Contribution to Franchising Award in 1986, 2003 and 2006. In 2009 he was inducted into the Australian Franchising Hall of Fame.
In 2023 Stephen was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for his service to small business, community organisations and charitable fundraising.
Reflecting on legislation
Giles told Franchise Executives, “I joined the board to contribute to the franchising community. At the time there was the threat of legislation, which galvanised the sector and enhanced the sense of common purpose.
“Ironically after 25+ years nothing has really changed – we currently face likely further legislative amendment, and the franchise sector still feels poorly understood by politicians, regulators and the media.
“Despite these challenges, franchising continues to flourish, and objectively delivers competitive advantage to both franchisors and franchisees. It is really the only way small business can compete against big business.
“I found it a remarkable statistic that almost 300 franchise systems in Australia have been in existence for over 20 years. This is an amazing statistic of which the sector should be very proud.”