Professor Stephen Cordner announces his retirement after 25 years at the helm

August 27th 2013

Professor Cordner (the Prof) has been Director of this Institute for 25 years.  During that time this organisation has become a world leader in forensic medicine and science.

Just recently a media report on the opening of a state of the art Forensic Centre in Ontario, stated, “It took some best practices from Australia’s renowned Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine”.

This international recognition is well deserved and reflects the expertise and dedication of all of you. We are determined, as our Strategic Plan indicates, “to advance our role as a reliable and innovative leader in the world of forensic medicine and science”.

One of our missions is to develop International forensic capacity. Professor Cordner has indicated to the VIFM Council his desire to concentrate his energies on this project. To do so it is his wish to retire as the Director of the VIFM and take up a new role as Head of VIFM International Programs.

In short, the Prof reckons 25 years is enough and that it is time to activate a succession plan.  There are a number of positives in this move-

1.  Monash University will create a special Professorship for this new role.  So ultimately we will have two professors at the Institute.

2.  Professor Cordner will stay on at the Institute with the ability to pass on 25 years of accumulated wisdom, to his successor.

3.  As part of his new role Professor Cordner will perform autopsies and continue in a teaching capacity.

4.  Professor Cordner’s international reputation will ensure the prestige of this Institute, and its global attractiveness as a facility to train forensic doctors, dentists and scientists.

This is an exciting prospect and, from my perspective, and that of the Council, is a “win-win” situation. Now, none of this is going to happen overnight.  To locate a suitable replacement will not be easy, and will take time.

The Council expects expressions of interest from both Australian and International applicants.  A selection process involving Monash University will ultimately have to be undertaken.

None of us are irreplaceable, but the next Director of this Institute will have huge shoes to fill and great expectations to meet. That is why the selection process needs to be meticulously undertaken. Realistically we are looking at about mid 2014.

In the meantime Professor Cordner will continue as Director – a commitment for which we are all grateful. Organisations must necessarily develop and evolve.  If they stagnate, if they do not plan for the future, they are doomed.

The Council sees this succession plan, incorporating as it does the new position of Head of International Programs, as a significant and exciting evolution in the life of this Institute.

The Hon John Coldrey QC

Chair, VIFM Council