Jeff Rogut: Signing off after 10 years

In the October / November issue of C&I Retailing Magazine, Jeff Rogut penned an opinion piece, which highlights his achievements during his 10 years as the CEO of AACS. With his tenure just about to come to an end, we thought we would share his article online.

After almost 10 years as CEO of AACS, I recently informed our members that I would be resigning from the position, effective at the end of November, 2020.

It has been a true privilege and a highlight of my long career in retail and has therefore been a difficult decision to make. However, as our industry ­­­- and all industries, face new challenges in a changed operating environment, I believe it is the appropriate time.

I am extremely proud to have led the Association on behalf of, and in support of, the amazing retailers, suppliers, business owners, operators and teams that make up this dynamic industry.

The last 10 years have been eventful. It has been an especially dynamic time for the convenience industry. During this time the AACS has:

·      Redefined and reinvigorated the Association’s vision, mission and strategy as well as its operational pillars of: Advocacy, Connection and Knowledge.

·      Achieved solid and loyal membership growth as well as a strong revenue and financial base that bode well for the future, enabling AACS to extend memberships by six months during the pandemic.

·      Become established as ‘the voice’ of the industry nationally by media and government and served on numerous government working groups, always advocating for the industry.

·      Facilitated numerous successful events including annual leadership summits, gala and awards dinners, training programs and nine overseas study tours to countries such as the USA, Canada, Japan, Korea, UK, China, Ireland and France.

·      Initiated the AACS Down Under Study Tours, which have proven very popular.

·   Significantly increased the profile of the Association in the media, social media and with politicians and governments, both state and federal.

·      Conducted political lobbying on significant issues that could either positively or negatively impact the industry.

·      Collaborated with C&I Retailing on the AACS Convenience Leaders Summit and C&I Expo initiatives, and been a regularl contributor in C&I Retailing magazine, for which I sincerely thank the C&I Retailing team.

·      Published industry articles and appeared in media in Australia, France, UK, Ireland, NZ and Canada.

·      Coordinated the first ‘AACS Convenience Innovation Challenge’ for uni students focusing on the industry, with the take-up and strength of submissions seeing it become an annual fixture in the AACS calendar.

·      Led the redevelopment and improvement of the annual ‘AACS State of the Industry Report’, which has continued to evolve to ensure it best meets the needs of members.

·      Conducted the first major research into the industry in 2011 titled ‘Convenience 2020’, with an update undertaken in 2017, ‘Convenience 2030’. This research has proven to be of lasting importance to members and an important reference tool.

·      Commissioned new research into convenience customer attitudes and usage in 2019 and updated this during the COVID-19 pandemic, to ensure members understand and are prepared for the new challenges and opportunities they face.

·      Participated in a TV program on convenience retail in Japan by Asahi TV in February 2016.

·      Coordinated the first ‘businesses against crime’ forum, bringing together industry, police and politicians.

·      Quickly mobilised when COVID-19 hit to lobby government to ensure the industry could remain open.

AACS has always emphasised that convenience is a dynamic industry and 2020, to date, has certainly reinforced this point.

Obviously, the future will look different, further evolution will be required, and AACS is well-positioned to evolve as well. The future for the industry is still bright and filled with opportunity.

And while it will be with a degree of sadness that I officially leave the post, and a role I have thoroughly enjoyed for the last decade, I also feel excitement and anticipation for the future. Both as an interested observer of the industry and a regular customer of my local convenience store.

On behalf of the entire team at C&I Media, we’d like to sincerely thank Jeff for his support and his incredible service to the convenience industry.

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