RFS boss Shane Fitzsimmons to step down to lead new disaster agency
Updated: Nov 11, 2020
He's the face Australia grew to know, love and trust during the horrific bushfire crisis. But, Rural Fire Service Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons has announced he will take up a new role from next month, ending his time as the organisation's top official. Commissioner Fitzsimmons wrote a heartfelt message to his volunteers and staff which they released on social media on Sunday night. "The Premier, Gladys Berejiklian will be announcing tomorrow morning, the creation of a new NSW Government agency, Resilience NSW," he said. "The Premier will also confirm, effective May 1, that I’ll be taking up the role of Commissioner, Resilience NSW and Deputy Secretary, Emergency Management, in the newly created agency. "As most of you are aware, I have very proudly served in the RFS for more than 35 years now, as both a volunteer and salaried member, including just over 12 years as Commissioner. Like so many other members, the NSW RFS has been a significant and rewarding part of my life." Commissioner Fitzsimmons continued that he was of the view that that one of the most important decisions leaders need to make, at all levels of an organisation and especially for CEOs, is the decision for when it’s time for change and renewal. He wrote that he always sought to ensure that he didn’t outstay his relevance. "After considerable personal contemplation, as well as discussions with Lisa and my family, I believe the time is right both personally and organizationally," Commissioner Fitzsimmons said. "This has been an extremely challenging and difficult decision, as only those closest to me will ever truly know, but the most important and necessary decisions usually are. "The changes and improvements I’ve observed and experienced over my decades with the NSW RFS have simply been extraordinary – and thank goodness. "To me, this was so profoundly evident during this past fire season. Despite facing the worst bush fire season in our State’s history, the NSW RFS and its leadership of coordinated fire fighting is the strongest it has ever been. "I’m extremely proud to have been a part of such an extraordinary organisation, full of passionate and dedicated people who constantly strive for improvement and betterment."