Outgoing Auckland Council boss Stephen Town has been named as the inaugural chief executive of the new national polytechnic.
Town, who was earning $698,000 a year at Auckland Council, will take up his new role on July 6.
That will be three months after the country's 15 existing polytechnics are merged into a single body which was initially called the NZ Institute of Skills and Technology, on April 1.
The establishment unit's executive director Murray Strong announced last week that the preferred name of the institute is now Pūkenga Aotearoa (Skill NZ). A final decision on the name will be announced after a consultation period ends on March 8.
Establishment board chair Barry Jordan said the board was "delighted to have attracted a candidate of Stephen's high calibre after an extensive search for the right person to lead the creation of the new national Institute".
• Auckland Council chief executive quits $698,000 job for a new role
• Auckland Council senior staffer accused of aggressive behaviour
• Auckland Council chief executive Stephen Town defends high salaries
• Auckland Council CEO Stephen Town rejects motion to scrap business-class travel
"With more than 25 years as a chief executive, including a distinguished career in the local government sector, Stephen has a proven track record of bringing people together through periods of complex change," he said.
"He has led initiatives to create jobs for long-term unemployed in South Auckland and built enduring relationships with iwi and hapū.
"We were looking for someone who is a strong relationship builder with deep strategic experience successfully leading large and complex organisations to achieve significant improvement.
"The interview panel, which included a number of experienced leaders from across the sector, were unanimous in their decision to offer the role to Stephen."
Jordan said the panel was impressed with Town's "composed and strategic focus, his ability to form enduring and productive relationships with stakeholders, and his long-term connection to the tertiary sector where his leadership journey began".
A graduate of Wanganui Regional Community Polytechnic, Town "has maintained a deep interest in vocational education".
He has two sons in the building industry training system who will both qualify as carpenters this year.
Town said he was "honoured to take up this role and excited at the challenges ahead".
"Change leadership is our greatest opportunity and New Zealand's needs will require much greater agility from the vocational education and training sector in the next two decades," he said.
"Before us is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build a sustainable and world-class vocational education system that strengthens communities and ultimately New Zealand. I am looking forward to working collaboratively with everyone in the sector to effect meaningful and lasting change."
Before taking over the new Auckland Council seven years ago, Town has been chief executive of Franklin District Council and Tauranga City Council and Auckland/Northland regional director of the NZ Transport Agency.
His first chief executive role was at the Wanganui Regional Community Polytechnic in 1994, making him the youngest chief executive in New Zealand at the time.
He holds an executive MBA from Massey University.