Northland Inc to begin hunt for new CEO shortly

25 Jan 2019, 12:35 PM

Northland Inc Chief Executive Officer David Wilson has resigned after more than five years at the helm of the regional economic development agency.

The 59-year-old is relocating back to Auckland to join his family, who have continued to live there since he assumed his CEO role in September 2013.

Northland Inc Chief Executive Officer David Wilson…resigning from his role to relocate back to Auckland to join his family.

Announcing the resignation today Northland Inc Chair Sarah Petersen said Dr Wilson had made a significant contribution to the region and would retain strong links to the north and his former employer.

“A key achievement during David’s watch was the 2015 release of the Tai Tokerau Northland Regional Growth Study, which identified significant economic and investment opportunities to grow employment and incomes in the North.”

Ms Petersen says the study had created a regional economic action plan that had been a catalyst for Northlanders working together to improve the region’s collective outcomes.

“It’s enabled Northland to secure significant funding through the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) as we were ready to go with a number of robust projects and initiatives across the region.”

Doctor Wilson was also instrumental in securing Northland as the national landing place for the US$440-million Hawaiki International Fibre Cable, opening competition in the market carrying internet traffic between New Zealand, Australia and the United States via the Pacific.

Northland Inc is owned by the region’s ratepayers via the Northland Regional Council and its chairman Bill Shepherd thanked Dr Wilson for his tireless efforts to improve the North’s economic performance.

“Improving Northland’s economic performance is a key council goal and we have had a great ally in David, under whose watch our regional economic performance has been lifted from what was effectively the bottom of the pile to a much stronger relative position today.”

Chairman Shepherd says the high regard in which Dr Wilson was held – both locally and nationally – was reflected in February last year when he was appointed to central government's Provincial Growth Fund Independent Advisory Panel.  He was also the recipient of Economic Development New Zealand’s (EDNZ) distinguished service award last year.

“My fellow councillors and I wish him well in whatever new venture he undertakes.  Northlanders collectively owe him a great debt for his considerable efforts on our behalf across multiple fronts.”

Dr Wilson plans to maintain national leadership roles in regional economic development as EDNZ chair and a PGF advisory panel member and Ms Petersen and he say they expect to maintain a strong working relationship after he finishes officially in the CEO role at the end of March.

“We know Dr Wilson will continue to create opportunities for Northland through this on-going work,” Ms Petersen says.  “We look forward to maintaining the relationships that have been developed to continue the economic momentum achieved over the last few years.”

For his part, Dr Wilson says he is committed to ensuring the transition to new leadership is a smooth one to take advantage of the platform that has been laid over the last five years.

“I would really like to thank the Northland Regional Council and the Board of Northland Inc for their considerable support, part of which enabled me to complete my doctorate in regional development in 2016.” 

Doctor Wilson says he had enjoyed his time in the region and “the region will remain my second home, with a family property in the Far North”.

Ms Petersen says recruitment for his replacement will be underway within the next few days.