The Thames-Coromandel District Council's new chief executive officer will be current Ōpōtiki District Council chief executive Aileen Lawrie.
Mayor Sandra Goudie says, "We're very excited and extremely fortunate that Aileen has accepted the position.
"Aileen's expertise in aquaculture, housing and cycleway developments align perfectly with the work we're already doing in this space.
"Aileen's experience and proven track record in delivering real and tangible outcomes on complex and difficult initiatives that have spanned multiple years and multiple organisations – which will help us drive our projects like the development of Te Ariki Tahi/Sugarloaf Wharf and the Kōpū marine precinct to completion."
Lawrie said she was very excited to join the team at the Thames-Coromandel District Council in August.
"I can see the council has an ambitious work programme for the coming years and there is already a lot of work under way.
"I look forward to sharing the lessons from Ōpōtiki around wharf and housing development and the council's role in building towards the community vision. There is also a lot of work on the horizon making sure the district is in the best place to navigate through all the reform facing local government.
"I am looking forward to getting to know the community, council staff and elected members."
Lawrie has been the chief executive of Ōpōtiki District Council for 12 years. During that time, she has driven many projects for the Ōpōtiki community including a multimillion-dollar sewerage upgrade, the development and extension of the Mōtū trails and the award-winning Ōpōtiki Harbour/Aquaculture Development project in partnership with Whakatōhea.
She is also one of 12 members on the Local Government Steering Group, advising the Government on the resource management system reforms, a director of the Bay of Plenty Local Authority Shared Services Ltd, holds a chief executive seat on the Economic Development Agency for the Eastern Bay of Plenty – Toi EDA, and is a Civil Defence Emergency Management controller.
Her previous roles have been in regulatory, planning and management at the Bay of Plenty Regional Council and Environment Canterbury, with a particular interest in coastal planning legislation.
Lawrie's appointment to Thames-Coromandel is for a five-year term, three years with an additional two-year right of renewal. She replaces Rob Williams, who resigned as chief executive earlier this year after five years in the role.
Rex Capil, governance and strategy group manager, has been acting chief executive in the interim. Capil has since tendered his resignation and Bruce Hinson, operations group manager, will take over the acting chief executive role until Lawrie starts on August 1.
Goudie said, "We wish Rex all the best for the future, which includes travel overseas and thank Bruce for agreeing to take on the acting chief executive position during the interim. He has our full confidence."
Lawrie will be working with a new mayor later this year. Sandra Goudie has said she will not be standing for the role in the next local election.
The council said the recruitment process for the chief executive role was managed by an independent executive search and recruitment service and a chief executive appointment panel made up of Goudie, deputy mayor Murray McLean and councillors Robyn Sinclair and John Morrissey.
Ōpōtiki Mayor Lyn Riesterer said she was very pleased for Lawrie and her "new and exciting opportunity".
"However, I know we will miss her steady hand at the head of the organisation and want to thank her for the incredible work she has done for the community over the last 12 years."
The council said Lawrie had overseen a huge transformation in the district.
She was instrumental in securing external funding to build the new harbour entrance which supported the burgeoning aquaculture industry.
Several other key projects had helped prepare the district for economic and population growth including the sewer relining project, the building of Te Tāhuhu o Te Rangi, the new skatepark, footpaths, gardens and playgrounds. She had worked closely with iwi partners around the rohe to support their own aspirations in industries and opportunities like spat, housing, development and job creation. She has also shared her expertise nationally, sitting on central government's steering group for the coming resource management reforms.
"Aileen's legacy will be felt for many years to come. Ōpōtiki has faced many challenges in recent decades but we have worked hard, particularly over the past 10 years, to achieve our vision to bring Ōpōtiki back to prosperity. We are now entering a new phase of opportunity and growth. The council's role and Aileen's leadership have been central to this transformation.
"I speak on behalf of the council to express our thanks for her vision, perseverance and service to staff and the community over many years.
"Aileen leaves the organisation in a strong position for the future. Thames-Coromandel District Council is very lucky to have her and I am sure she will bring her excellent leadership skills and tireless advocacy for the community to her new role," Riesterer said.
Aileen Lawrie finishes with Ōpōtiki District Council in July. The mayor and councillors will begin the process for recruiting and employing a new chief executive over the coming weeks.