He was appointed to the SBS Board in March, 2009, becoming Chair in December, 2009. He was the first Chair to be appointed under the Federal Government’s merit-based process for government board appointments.
During his term, SBS initiated a strategic review, a major review of the SBS Radio Schedule, the launch of NITV, incorporation of subscription channels World Movies and STUDIO, the appointment of Michael Ebeid as Managing Director and the relaunch of SBS 2.
Programming highlights have included Go Back to Where You Came From, Immigration Nation, East West 101, FIFA World Cup, Tour de France and Better Man.
“I firmly believe the services SBS provides are more relevant today, than at any other point in our near 40-year history,” he said.
“It would be a terrible mistake for Australia to rest on its laurels, rather than intensifying our efforts to maintain our internationally envied record of success as a socially cohesive multicultural society and our position as country of choice for skilled migrants.
“SBS has a vital role in this complex task, given that today one in four Australians speak a language other than English at home, and have a dramatically more diverse range of cultural, religious and linguistic backgrounds than the predominantly European migrant backgrounds when SBS was first launched.
“I would like to pay tribute to my fellow Directors who have brought to bear invaluable skills from their diverse cultural backgrounds, and to Michael Ebeid and the executive team and all the staff who have rekindled the energy and passion that sets SBS apart – it’s been a privilege to have worked with them all.”
Minister for Communications Malcolm Turnbull said: “Joe Skrzynski has been an outstanding chairman of SBS, a role in which he brought together his years of business experience, his deep and lived experience of multiculturalism and his passionate commitment to Australian arts and culture. SBS is a stronger organisation for his leadership and on behalf of the Government I thank him for his service in this important role.”
SBS Managing Director Michael Ebeid said:“Joe’s commitment to delivering on SBS’s role of contributing to successful multiculturalism, coupled with his passion for the media and astute business mind have guided the reshaping of our strategic direction when SBS was at a crossroads.
“In particular I’d like to acknowledge his push to include an explicit statement on our role in aiding social cohesion in Australia and the exploitation of new technologies to do this, which are now reflected in the organisation’s mission and drive its focus on programming priorities.
“Under Joe’s chairmanship, the organisation also secured much-needed additional government funding for SBS in two successive federal budgets, which helped to shore-up our financial sustainability and gave confidence to all our employees that the importance of our services was recognised and valued. And on a personal note I want to thank Joe for being such a support to me as Managing Director of SBS.”
Skrzynski will step down when his term ends on March 26th Deputy Chair Hass Dellal will act as Chair of the SBS Board of Directors in the interim.