28 February 2023

After 19 years leading the region's largest law firm, Phil McIntosh cycles into retirement

| Chris Roe
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Phil McIntosh

Phillip McIntosh has retired from corporate life but remains committed to his work in the community. Photo: Supplied.

Phillip McIntosh is philosophical about retirement after almost two decades as CEO of the Riverina’s largest law firm, Commins Hendricks.

“I have a deep appreciation to have had the opportunity to run the organisation for such a long period of time and through many different iterations,” he said.

“I’ve enjoyed the camaraderie of all the people that I’ve worked with over such a long period of time and deeply appreciated the fact that they shared a lot with me.

“In all honesty, I miss that a great deal.”

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New CEO Stacy Moses reflected on Phil’s legacy and the change he was able to implement.

“The work he has done across two decades to grow it into the firm it is today is an amazing achievement – he has laid a solid path for our business to follow,” she said.

man and woman

Phil McIntosh and new Commins Hendricks CEO, Stacy Moses. Photo: Supplied.

Phil has seen the firm expand to include seven offices across the Riverina and one in the ACT and is proud of the way Commins Hendricks has evolved.

“This organisation has been around for more than 100 years and I think that’s because the people who own it at any given time have always reinvested into it and left it in a better position than it was in when they found it” he explained.

“I’ve been very, very lucky to have had proactive boards that have supported me in instigating change to make sure that we stay at the forefront of legal services in regional NSW.”

He also reflected on the fact that the six-person board of directors now includes four female lawyers who have risen through the firm.

“When I started, of course, there was an all-male board,” he said.

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While Phil is adjusting to life beyond the office, he’s still got plenty on his plate as vice president of the RSL Club and chair of the Wollundry Rotary Club’s organising committee for the annual Gears and Beers festival.

“I’ve lived in this community for a long long time and I always believe that if the community’s been good to you, you should try and give something back,” he said.

“It’s my intention to continue to be involved in Wollundry Rotary quite heavily and I’ve been extraordinarily lucky that work has allowed me the flexibility to be able to manage something like the Gears and Beers festival as part of that.”

Phillip on Bike

Phil expects the Gears and Beers festival to continue to grow. Photo: Supplied.

The annual event has become a fixture on many cycling calendars as riders are steered through a variety of challenging and picturesque gravel trails before washing away the dust with a craft beer in the CBD.

“Lots of bike rides go from start to finish line and you effectively put your bike back on the roof of your car and drive home,” Phil reflected.

“Whereas this event comes back into a craft beer festival that allows people to totally relax with the people that they’ve ridden with and share stories about what they experienced out on the roads.

“We throw an enormous amount of things at them out there and it’s great to get to the Victory Memorial Gardens and listen to some nice casual music and just enjoy the experience.”

Gears and Beers

The 2022 Gears and Beers took riders through the canola fields. Photo: Josef Winkler.

He expects the event to be even bigger in 2023 after images of cyclists riding through canola fields in full bloom went viral across social media.

“I swear, those photographs out of that one section will sell the 2023 event for us,” he laughed.

“I get a real high in finding something that works really, really well and really challenges people, but also blows them away because it’s not something that they are used to experiencing on a bike.”

As he settles into retirement, Phil says he’s looking forward to a break, some travel and family time and continuing to invest in the community he loves.

“I’ve been extraordinarily lucky to work with such a wonderful organisation, I want to stay involved in the community,” he said.

“Organisations like Rotary are really wonderful to be a part of and hopefully, I’ll continue to enjoy it into the future.”

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