Fresh approach for Diabetes WA

03/12/2008 - 22:00

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FORMER Activ Foundation chief operating officer Andrew Wagstaff has been appointed chief executive of Subiaco-based Diabetes WA.

INCLUSIVE VIEW: ANDREW WAGSTAFF WILL DRAW ON HIS EXPERIENCE IN THE COMMERCIAL SECTOR TO HEAD UP DIABETES WA. PHOTO: GRANT CURRALL

FORMER Activ Foundation chief operating officer Andrew Wagstaff has been appointed chief executive of Subiaco-based Diabetes WA.

The move came as the state's leading diabetes group celebrated World Diabetes Day earlier this month and prepared for a new strategic direction within the not-for-profit sector.

Mr Wagstaff takes the helm of Diabetes WA after 20 years in the commercial sector, having worked in senior line management and consulting roles in Australia and the US with Deloitte, Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton.

He worked for 12 years at Rio Tinto's Argyle diamond mine, creating programs to add value to the production of the raw material, and has worked extensively in the areas of strategic planning, brand and market development, and business re-engineering for MVI Marketing.

Mr Wagstaff started to rethink his career direction while consulting for Deloitte in 2005, when working with a client in specialist geriatric care.

"In for-profit work your whole life is about value generation for the shareholder and so I started to question that as my primary reason for being," he told WA Business News.

"I was doing consulting with Deloitte looking at growth solutions for small to medium businesses and one of our clients was in the aged care sector, and that started me thinking about the not-for-profit sector."

Combining experience across both profit and social enterprise sectors, Mr Wagstaff said it was crucial the expansion of services to support people with diabetes grew in line with rising rates of the condition.

He said corporate WA was set to become one of the biggest losers if the diabetes epidemic took hold.

"Corporate WA should have a vested interest in stemming diabetes because of the very significant operational and financial impacts of the disease through absenteeism and lost productivity," he said.

"I want Diabetes WA to work alongside as many WA organisations as possible to make employee health a priority so that we can devise strategies and programs to manage the impact of the current disease trends."

More than 140,000 Western Australians have diabetes and nearly one in four over the age of 25 suffers from diabetes or has early signs of the disease.

In the past 25 years, the rate of onset of the disease in the Australian population has trebled.

Mr Wagstaff aims to implement strategies that will address the fragmentation in the market across the range of organisations focused on diabetes.

He said sponsors seldom realised that organisations such as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the Diabetes Research Foundation were separate entities with different objectives and missions to Diabetes WA.

"I'd like to see us pull the lot together in a methodical and pragmatic way, and I'm keen for DWA to play its role in this process," Mr Wagstaff said.

"I guess what I can bring to the table is my experience in branding and marketing in the commercial sector to form strategies to improve the services in WA and address this fragmentation."

Diabetes is estimated to cost the Australian economy between $3 billion and $5 billion a year, and Mr Wagstaff said it was vital to expand and develop programs to collectively support people who suffered from the disease.

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