21 Sep 2021

The new EACTS Chief Executive, in his own words

EACTS’ new Chief Executive is Brendan Eley. He has a long track record in corporate governance and is bringing all his experience and expertise to the task of building an even brighter future for EACTS.
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A firm foundation, and now it’s time to build…

Here, in his own words, he talks about his appointment and his immediate priorities.

“I am a lifelong voluntary sector worker with a strong background in relationships and governance. I’ve been the Chief Executive of a medical research charity for over 15 years, and that experience now finds me supporting EACTS in the same role. I’m passionate about the voluntary sector, about bringing high-quality, efficient, mission-led management, leadership and governance to good causes. I think the voluntary and public sectors demand and deserve that level of professionalism as much as anywhere else.

“I’ve been involved with EACTS now for nearly three years as a consultant. I’ve been to the Annual Meeting, I’ve attended the Council meetings and I undertook a major governance review in 2019. I thrive in organisations such as EACTS that are small in terms of structure but large in terms of breadth, reach and influence. That’s a credit to the people who work here and to the power of all the surgeons who volunteer their time to support the work of EACTS.

“You don’t need to be a cardiothoracic surgeon to be chief executive of EACTS. But you do need to know how to run an organisation, employ good governance and processes, put in place strong structures, have a clear strategy and know what is needed to achieve the agreed plan. EACTS has a firm foundation, and now it’s time to build on that and help drive the organisation forward, even further.

“I think most members and people associated with EACTS will welcome change. Post-Covid, we have to get ready for the new world, which means looking at the future of EACTS with an increasingly strategic perception. Where does the organisation want to be in the next ten years? It’s in a good position with its many members, our Annual Meeting, education programme and publications. Now we have to take all those jewels and make the most of them in a way that fits the future EACTS wants to see.

“My main priority is to look at our relationship with members and what we offer you. We need to review what we’re giving you, how we are communicating with you, and to genuinely put the members at the heart of everything that EACTS does. That will include looking at the Academy and the courses, and making sure that we are offering a compelling programme of exciting, meaningful and professional courses that remains the envy of the world.

“We have world-beating registries, courses and journals, and we need to ensure they serve the needs of surgeons in pursuit of the best outcomes for their patients. All those resources should have reach and impact, and be driven with the same self-sustaining mission of ultimately improving patient outcomes. I’m sure that every EACTS member would agree.

“We need to refocus on our relationships and partnerships with other associations. There is safety and impact in numbers. We are a global leader and I think we have a responsibility to play our part alongside all the other cardiothoracic and cardiology associations around the world.

“The power of EACTS is that we have a high-quality, committed team in Windsor and we have resources. We’re in a position where we can set out our stall for the next ten years and say, right, what are the priorities in the cardiothoracic world, what’s EACTS role? Then we need to start doing things. Such as professionalising, in the sense of reporting back to the members what our intentions are, how we’re doing it, how we’re getting on with it and what impact we’re having. We need to communicate and report on that more frequently for the membership.

“The Annual Meeting is EACTS’ crown jewel. It’s where our educational offering and our global role as a catalyst for thinking bring the key people together. It’s our shop window and we have an international reputation for this quality programme. When people come and interact with EACTS face to face and they see the excitement, the buzz, the quality, and they want to be part of that.

“A core partner for EACTS is industry. Although we want to stay true to an unfettered, unconflicted relationship, and we will never compromise on that, we know that industry is an important partner. So, looking ahead, developing, building and growing those relationships will be absolutely key for us.

“EACTS is in a position of strength, with membership growing significantly. From my perspective, I would like to see us grow the EACTS offering and membership base in other parts of the world, such as the Far East, Africa, Asia, South America. We have strong relationships there that we can build on, and I think EACTS has to get its message out there as wide as possible and to promote quality, purely with the intention of pursuing better cardiothoracic outcomes throughout the world.”