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Published: 2014-06-04 00:00:00

Chief executive Vaughan Payne today announced the new Executive Leadership Team (ELT) responsible for achieving the regional council’s strategic direction and ensuring it more effectively and efficiently meets future challenges.

“The directors are all proven leaders who have a clear understanding of the issues we face. Most importantly, they are all committed to making a positive difference for the region by working closely with our stakeholders and iwi partners,” Mr Payne said. 

Their appointments follow a highly competitive recruitment process attracting more than 160 applications. 

“To give our stakeholders and partners confidence we’re serious when we say we want to better connect with them, I invited executives of local and iwi authorities and other key agencies to sit on the final interview panels and take part in the appointment decisions.” 

The changes, which have seen management numbers cut from 52 to 34, follow an organisation-wide review started last September to make sure the council had the right strategy, structure and staffing to improve efficiency and effectiveness over the next four years. The review included benchmarking against similar organisations and feedback from staff, councillors and other stakeholders.

The review indicated that the council had about the right number of frontline staff and the reduction in management costs over time would free up resources to spend more on operational service delivery.

The new executive team members take up their new roles on 25 August.

The new leadership team

Neville Williams 

Neville Williams is the new Community and Services Director. Neville belongs to Hauraki iwi Ngati Pukenga ki Waiau. He comes to the regional council from Work and Income where he is currently the Waikato Regional Director leading a team of 250 staff responsible for delivering a complex mix of services to 25,000 clients and stakeholders.

In his new role, he will be responsible for customer and community partnerships, organisational performance, information technology, communications, human resources, iwi relationships, civil defence and emergency management.  
Mike Garrett

Mike Garrett has been reappointed to the role of Chief Financial Officer. Mike joined the regional council in December 2008 having held a range of executive roles in local government, the dairy industry and the health sector. Prior to these he worked as an auditor for Deloitte in New Zealand and London.

Mike’s responsibilities include all finance functions plus public transport, procurement, and facilities and property.
Clare Crickett

Clare Crickett is the new Integrated Catchment Management Director. Clare is currently the council’s deputy chief executive with group management responsibilities for communications, iwi relations, governance and legal. Clare has held a number of management roles during her 16 years at the regional council including strategic development, community relations, transport and policy.

In her new role, Clare will be responsible for integrating river and catchment services, environmental farming systems and biodiversity and biosecurity activities in a whole-of-catchment approach to delivering council services.
Tracey May

Tracey May is the new Science and Strategy Director. Holding science and planning qualifications, Tracey has been with the regional council for two years and is currently the Acting Group Manager of Policy and Transport. Tracey joined the regional council from Muswellbrook Shire Council, Australia, where she held the position of Environmental Services Director. Prior to that, she worked at Rotorua and Opotiki district councils.

Tracey’s new position brings together science and strategy to more effectively deliver the policy cycle of policy preparation, monitoring and review. This directorate will lead the organisational priorities of land and water, coastal and marine and regional development.
Chris McLay

Dr Chris McLay has been reappointed to the role of Resource Use Director. Chris joined the regional council in 2000 as a manager of science programmes before becoming the group manager of resource use in 2004, managing council's regulatory and education activities and navigation safety programme. Prior to joining the regional council he was a researcher and lecturer in soil science and land management.

Chris’s responsibilities include all regulatory functions including environmental monitoring, investigations and incident response, navigation safety and resource use consenting.