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Buller District Council welcomes new CEO Simon Pickford

Buller District Council is pleased to announce the appointment of Simon Pickford as the new Chief Executive Officer, effective 25 March 2024, for a five-year term. This appointment follows a comprehensive national search and selection process initiated in December and led by recruitment specialists Sheffield, South Island. The council received 74 applications for the CEO position, highlighting a remarkable pool of high-calibre candidates.

Simon brings over two decades of local government experience to Buller District Council, with a rich background in various council functions, including customer and regulatory services, community development, libraries, IT, corporate strategy, and policy. His expertise is further complemented by his role as General Manager of Community Services at Dunedin City Council, where, over nine years, he not only led community services but also gained significant emergency management experience, notably during the 2015 South Dunedin floods. This role highlights his capacity for leadership in critical situations and his ability to navigate complex challenges effectively.

Simon has a strong track record of building meaningful relationships with communities, mana whenua, partners, and stakeholders, aligning projects and services with council strategies to fulfil the council’s vision. His open and collaborative leadership approach and his ability to develop high-performing teams make him a significant addition to the executive team.

“I am honoured and excited to step into the role of Chief Executive Officer at Buller District Council. The opportunity to work closely with such a dedicated team and to engage with the vibrant Buller community is something I’m really looking forward to. It was the beauty and unique character of the Buller region which attracted me to this role as well as the sense of unity and resilience among its people. I look forward to helping the council deliver its vision to build a thriving district and to work with the community to address the challenges and seize the opportunities that lie ahead.”

Mayor Cleine reflects, “Our swift decision to seek a new CEO last December and finalising this crucial process by early March underscores our proactive approach, greatly supported by Sheffield and the dedication of our councillors who meticulously evaluated all information and candidate interviews.

The high quality and enthusiasm among the candidates were particularly striking. We appreciate the interest and efforts of all candidates and wish to thank all unsuccessful candidates for their interest in serving the Buller District.”

“Simon’s extensive background in senior local government roles stands out. I eagerly anticipate collaborating with him, welcoming him into the Buller community, and introducing him to our wider BDC team. Simon’s appointment marks an exciting new chapter for our council as we navigate through some difficult strategic decisions as a council,” said Mayor Cleine.

Mayor Cleine highlights the strategic timing of Simon Pickford’s appointment, ensuring a smooth transition from outgoing CEO Steve Gibling, who departs on 28 March. “Steve has been pivotal to our success, and as he embarks on a new role at Selwyn District Council, we thank him for his exceptional service. Welcoming Simon is timely, as he brings a wealth of experience to navigate Buller’s future challenges. His leadership will be instrumental in continuing the progress and initiatives Steve has set in motion.”

 

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