Auckland Council chief executive Stephen Town is leaving his $698,000 job several months before his contract ends in December this year.
Town is leaving after nearly seven years for a job in the education sector, according to sources.
Town told the Herald he had given five months notice of his resignation to the council today and will be leaving at the end of June. Further announcements will follow tomorrow, he said.
In June 2018, the council extended Town's five-year term for another two years. At the time, Mayor Phil Goff said the extension reflected the stable leadership he had provided and the steps he had taken towards creating a more cost-effective and customer-focused council.
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Town has adopted a low-key, no fuss approach as chief executive, but has been a powerful backroom operator whose influence has spread across the wider council group.
Before joining Auckland Council, Town was the northern regional director for the NZ Transport Agency for four years, and before that was chief executive at Tauranga City Council for eight years.
The council had already started the recruitment process to replace Town, but could bring the process forward with news of his early departure, a council source said.
Last month, council's group chief financial officer Matthew Walker resigned for a senior role at the NZ Transport Agency in Wellington. He leaves at Easter.