ICT industry heavyweights have led tributes to former Australian Information Industry Association CEO Ian Birks, who passed away earlier this week.
Birks “was a strong and respected stalwart of the industry,” the AIIA said in a statement.
Aside from leading the AIIA between 2008 and 2011, he served as a director of Ideas International, a research firm that would eventually be acquired by Gartner, and more recently fronted the Australian Services Roundtable as its chief executive.
Other notable posts included membership of the Australian Government's Small Business Ministerial Advisory Council; the CSIRO Digital Productivity Flagship and Services Advisory Committee; and chairmanship of the Australian Government's IT Industry Innovation Council.
The AIIA said Birks would “be remembered fondly for his presence, passion and sharp wit”.
“Ian was more than a colleague, he was an outstanding leader and voice in advocating the role of ICT in driving Australia’s economy,” AIIA chair Kee Wong said.
“His passing is a great personal loss to me – and of course, a sad loss for the industry.”
ACS President Brenda Aynsley called Birks “an incredibly well liked and respected leader in the Australian ICT sector”.
“His determination and commitment to technology helped him achieve great things throughout his career, and his achievements as CEO of the AIIA and the ASR are well recognised,” Aynsley said.
“The thoughts of everyone here are with his family, friends and colleagues at this difficult time.”
Aidan Tudehope, managing director of Macquarie Telecom’s Hosting Group, said Birks was a "true leader and will be missed".
Ex-AIIA chief Ian Birks' passes. Having sat on the IT Ind Innovation Council with Ian - true leader & will be missed http://t.co/cNMy9wnXHu
— Aidan Tudehope (@Tudehope1) July 30, 2015
Construction Skills Queensland’s chief operating officer Paul Hodgson remembered Birks as "a smart and passionate leader who worked tirelessly for our country's future”.
I am shocked & saddened to hear of the passing of @ianbirks A smart and passionate leader who worked tirelessly for our country's future.
— Paul Hodgson (@PaulJohnHodgson) July 30, 2015
Analyst firm Ovum’s Public Sector Research Director, Kevin Noonan said: “With great sadness I've just learned about the passing of Ian Birks former CEO of AIIA. Ian was a colleague & friend & will be dearly missed.”
With great sadness I've just learned about the passing of Ian Birks former CEO of AIIA. Ian was a colleague & friend & will be dearly missed
— Kevin Noonan (@noonan_kevin) July 29, 2015
Dr Ian Oppermann, formerly of RoZetta Technology and CSIRO, paid tribute to Birks as “a great champion of innovation in Australia.”
Sad news, death of Ian Birks @ianbirks. A great champion of innovation in Australia.
— Ian Oppermann (@ian_oppermann) July 28, 2015
Non-profit ICT advocacy group, Pearcey Foundation, remembered being “closely associated” with Birks.
“He and Charles Lindop [co-chair Pearcey NSW] initiated our first Australia 3.0 event back in 2011 as a collaborative effort between AIIA, ACS and Pearcey and was involved until recently,” the foundation said.
“Ian's foresight and industry leadership will be sorely missed.”