A corporate leader with strong roots in Auckland, Doug McKay, has been appointed interim chief executive of the Super City.

Yesterday, Mr McKay said his biggest challenge was ensuring the wheels did not come off while implementing major change for the new Auckland Council.

The 54-year-old beat 27 other candidates, believed to include several existing council chief executives, to run the biggest council in Australasia with a $3 billion budget, about 6000 staff and $29 billion of assets - seven times the market capitalisation of Telecom.

He will be paid a salary of $675,000 with an incentive bonus of $67,500 on top. He will begin work on August 1 for a fixed term to July 2012.

Mr McKay has 30 years' corporate experience, including senior executive roles at Lion Nathan and five years as chief executive of Sealord. Until last year he was executive chairman and chief executive of Independent Liquor.

Two weeks ago, his business record took a knock when he was one of four men behind Hamilton packaging company Boxing On which was placed in receivership. The four, including former All Black captain David Kirk, got involved in the company only last month.

Mr McKay did not see his lack of local government experience as an issue, but an opportunity to bring a fresh set of eyes to the challenges ahead. "I'm a huge supporter, in principle, of the changes ... and very excited about the prospects to make a difference.

"I'm a great believer that the efficiencies that will be developed, the regional decision-making, will be a major benefit to the city over time."

Asked about cost savings from the Super City, Mr McKay said there would be significant savings but whether those led to lower rates would be determined by the spending plans of the mayor and elected councillors.

Mr McKay described himself as a passionate Aucklander who kept gravitating back from various corporate roles.

He attended Kelston Boys' High School, went to university and teachers' training college in the city, has surfed at Piha, played rugby for Ponsonby alongside All Black Bryan Williams and been a director of the City Mission.

The appointment was made by the Auckland Transition Agency. Executive chairman Mark Ford said Mr McKay was an outstanding candidate with a background in customer service, driving results-focused organisations, managing performance and leading staff through times of change.

Auckland City Mayor John Banks and Manukau Mayor Len Brown, vying to be the first mayor of the Super City, welcomed the appointment.

* Age, 54.
* Married, three adult children.
* Educated in Auckland.
* Independent Liquor chief executive 2007-09.
* Sealord chief executive 2002-07.
* Goodman Fielder senior executive 1998-2001.
* Carter Holt Harvey senior executive 1996-98.
* Lion Nathan senior executive 1991-96.