SSO Media board chairman Mark Bengtsson will step down from his position this month, after eight years with the company.

Although tempted to stay on for the coming 30th anniversary celebrations, Bengtsson is looking forward to seeing SSO take on future challenges under the guidance of another chairman, while he devotes more time to his law practice and his partner.

It was an entirely different sort of publication when I first started picking it up in the ’80s -” much smaller, a bit tacky actually, he recalled of his introduction to the paper he would later become involved with through a friend of former editor Marcus O’Donnell.

They had a vacancy on the board at the time and they had two particular needs -” to find someone with some financial expertise and an understanding of corporate governance and the proper role of the board.

Voted in as chairman three years ago, Bengtsson is proud of the role he played in continuing the paper’s success and has only one regret -” he could never solve the problem of encouraging more shareholders to take up director roles.

I’ve enjoyed it, but the problem has been getting out, he said. You can stay around too long, and I perhaps might have gone sooner, but we had some exciting developments in relation to our Melbourne paper. Then a couple of other longstanding directors retired so I thought I’d hang around a bit longer.

There’s always been a problem with getting shareholders to get involved with the board and that’s something that I hope can change, he said.

It would be very easy to carry on. It’s quite fun and this is a challenging time.

Melbourne is full of opportunities and there are other opportunities with the internet and new media which the company will no doubt exploit, and of course we have our 30th anniversary coming up in July.

This is also a challenging time in light of the economic downturn though, and as my own business [a legal firm which specialises in regulatory compliance] becomes more hectic and I continue my Master’s of Law, I became concerned that with all of those competing objectives I wouldn’t have enough time to do the job properly.

You’ve got to do the job correctly or move aside, he said. He thanked other SSO Media directors and Jameson, his partner of 20 years, for assisting him over the years.

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