Airtasker appoints corporate veteran Cass O'Connor as new chair

Airtasker appoints corporate veteran Cass O'Connor as new chair

Incoming Airtasker chair Cass O'Connor

Sydney-based corporate advisor and seasoned director Cass O'Connor, who recently chaired Prime Media through its sale to Seven West Media (ASX: SWM) in 2022, will hope to add another feather to her cap when she takes over as chair of online services marketplace Airtasker (ASX: ART) in July.

O'Connor will take the reins from James Spenceley - a venture capitalist and founder of Vocus Communications - who will retire from the Airtasker board at the end of FY23 to focus on his humanitarian efforts, which to date have included raising money for ambulances in war-torn Ukraine.

In a release to the ASX today, Airtasker described O'Connor as an accomplished leader with extensive experience in strategy, technology, and digital media, holding a number of board and executive positions at some of Australia’s most successful technology companies.

She is currently chair of NextEd Group (ASX: NXD), one of Australia’s fastest growing, quality private tertiary education businesses, while according to her LinkedIn she also chairs multi-arts centre Carriageworks, property management technology startup :Different, and micro-influencer marketplace Tribe.

That is in addition to her directorship and investment in Goalpost Pictures, the independent producer behind such films as The Sapphires, Top End Wedding and Holding the Man, as well as the TV shows New Gold Mountain and Cleverman.

These are responsibilities she also balances with a couple more non-executive director roles, while in a previous life she was also chair of McGrath Estate Agents for almost two decades and spent a better part of the 1990s working as a director with Malcolm Turnbull's investment banking firm Turnbull & Partners.

In other words, the new feather will need to find space amongst the figurative plumage of O'Connor's storied career.

"We are thrilled to welcome Cass to the Airtasker board as our new chair," says Airtasker founder and CEO Tim Fung.

"Cass has a super impressive track record and her extensive experience in the media industry will be a major asset as we explore creative ways to turbocharge our global expansion and replicate the growth we’ve achieved so far in Australia.

"We’re all looking forward to working with Cass to deliver on the Airtasker mission - to empower people to realise the full value of their skills."

O'Connor says she is excited about joining Airtasker and contributing to the company's continued success.

"The company has established a solid position in the flexible work economy in Australia, is poised to replicate its success internationally and has a terrific brand and values set," she says.

"Importantly, Tim, his executive team, the directors and key backers are recognised and accomplished leaders. I am really looking forward to contributing to Airtakser’s growth trajectory."

In April, Airtasker joined the wave of tech companies letting go of staff to keep costs down, announcing it would be laying off 20 per cent of staff.

"With Airtasker’s recently announced cost reduction program and targeting cashflow positivity for FY24, coupled with its strong balance sheet, this is an appropriate time to transition to a new chair allowing me additional time to focus on my short-term humanitarian works," says Spenceley, the outgoing chair.

"It has been an honour to serve as chair of Airtasker for the past eight years. I am proud of the progress we have made as a company and the impact we have had through our mission in Australia. I wish Airtasker all the best for the future and look forward to seeing the company continue to thrive."

Fung thanks Spencely for his "incredible" contribution to Airtasker.

"James was not only one of our earliest investors and supporters but also responsible for driving important milestones including targeting positive operating cash flow, steering us through our IPO, enabling critical acquisitions such as Oneflare and pushing us towards international expansion," says Fung.

"On behalf of the Airtasker board and leadership team, I wish James all the best and am excited to see what he’s got in store next."

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