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Earlier this year, we announced the arrival of Brendan Quinn, the new managing director of the International Press Telecommunications Council.

And while we’re thrilled to welcome Brendan to his new role, we’d be remiss if we didn’t take a moment to honour the man whom he’ll be replacing: Michael Steidl, who is retiring from the IPTC after 15 years.

Michael joined IPTC in the beginning of 2003 after two decades working as a journalist, managing director for news agencies and information technology consultant for news providers.

Upon his arrival, he pledged to do one thing, recalled IPTC Board Chairman Stuart Myles in a tribute at the recent IPTC Spring Meeting 2018.

Michael didn’t want to reinvent the wheel, but to simply continue the good work of the previous director and “add some extra shades of colour” to IPTC’s image as a leader in news industry standards.

Of course, Michael did more than just add a few extra shades. Myles said:

“In fact, I would say that Michael’s contributions to the IPTC is really more equivalent to an entirely new artistic movement – a sort of Renaissance for the organisation – including managing the introduction of entirely new ways of operating the IPTC. When Michael started, there were no teleconferences or video conferences or even development of standards through email lists. There was no internet available during the meetings – which has perhaps been a mixed blessing, since people can keep up with the work back home, but we aren’t always as focussed.”

Klaus Sprick, a former IPTC board member who has been involved with the organisation for nearly 50 years, said the council – and the industry as a whole – owes Michael a debt.

“He is THE key person in IPTC to have moved it forward,” Sprick said. “IPTC is now, thanks to his efforts, the only respected and acknowledged organisation setting standards in international press information technology: media topics, subject codes, metadata, formats.”

Michael has called his time with the IPTC a great experience, adding he was happy to have been involved with the development and launch of nine new standards, the new Media Topic taxonomy and other vocabularies, and in his role in setting up new formats for face-to-face meetings and the creation of new kinds of meetings.

“Being in contact with our membership is also part of the bright side of my IPTC life and I enjoyed spreading the word about IPTC and its work among people knowing only little or nothing about our organisation.”

Prior to joining IPTC, Michael spent 11 years as managing director of Kathpress, where he had also worked as journalist. He has also worked as vice press officer for Medienstelle ED Wien, and as a freelance reporter for ORF.

We wish Michael a very happy retirement and thank him once again for the work he’s done to bring the IPTC to where it is today.