New Plymouth District Council Chief Executive Resigns to Take Up New Role in Wellington

03 March 2017

New Plymouth District Council (NPDC) Chief Executive Barbara Mckerrow has resigned to take on the role of Chief Operating Officer at Wellington City Council.

Mrs McKerrow, who has been the NPDC Chief Executive for nine years and has held a range of other management roles within the Council over the past 31 years, will move into her new position in the coming months.

New Plymouth District Mayor Neil Holdom paid tribute to Mrs McKerrow and acknowledged her years of service to the district.

“It’s with mixed emotions that we announce Barbara’s resignation. We will be sad to see her move on, having been a strong and visionary leader in the district, but we are also pleased for Barbara,” says the Mayor.

“This new opportunity is clearly something she is excited about and New Plymouth’s loss is Wellington’s gain. We all wish her every success.

“Barbara has made a significant and positive difference in our community. Barbara is a person with the clarity and courage to articulate a vision and the strength of character to go out and make things happen to achieve that vision.”

NPDC has developed a transitional plan to appoint an acting Chief Executive and recruit a replacement for Mrs McKerrow, Mr Holdom says.

“I will be making a recommendation to the full Council next week that we appoint our current CFO Alan Bird to the role of Acting Chief Executive. I will also be asking the Council to approve the proposed process to identify and recruit a new permanent Chief Executive for the organisation.”

Mrs McKerrow, who grew up in New Plymouth, says it has been a privilege to be the CE of NPDC.  She started her career in the libraries, moving through a variety of roles including District Librarian, the first Puke Ariki Manager, then Community Services Manager and the General Manager Customer Services. 

“As a person who calls New Plymouth home, it’s been a pleasure to serve our community as the Council’s CE.

“While I love my role here, I have learned a great deal as a leader and now wish to utilise those skills in a larger role, where I can experience new challenges. I have seen our community evolve over my time from a quiet provincial centre to New Zealand’s top town and Lonely Planet’s second-best region to visit in the world in 2017,” she says.

“Memorable projects that I have played a strong leadership role in, include Puke Ariki and the Len Lye Centre, and it’s been wonderful to see how our growing arts and culture offering has helped to create these international accolades and economic prosperity.

“What I am most proud of is the 500 staff at NPDC and the way in which we are serving our community by being a committed, agile organisation with strong leadership which is future-focused.”

Mrs McKerrow is in her third term as the President of Society of Local Government Managers (SOLGM) and has represented the country at international local government conferences.