Ms Hay joins the Council after several years of accomplished work at senior levels of, most recently, Auckland Council and, prior to that, at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.
City Council Chief Executive Barbara McKerrow says Ms Hay has led major financial and transactional initiatives and changes that have enabled Auckland Council to cut costs and streamline services to the community.
“Sara is the kind of financial expert who is exceptionally strong on the fundamentals of a balance sheet, but who looks far more widely and strategically – at how a large organisation can make major changes in the ways it works to improve the way it delivers services.
“Sara is joining Wellington City Council at a very challenging time. The city and the Council face tough headwinds generated by the pandemic – her job will not be an easy one. However her track record shows she is not afraid of making calls that enable organisations to get in positions to make the most of opportunities.”
Ms Hay was most recently Executive Officer at Auckland Council, reporting to Chief Executive Steven Town. Before that she was the Council’s Head of Financial Transformation and prior to that the Council’s General Manager, Procurement. She was named New Zealand Procurement Leader of the Year in 2016 and helped deliver over $70 million in total savings to Council in a 12-month period.
Apart from finding ways to cut many millions from the Auckland Council’s spending, she also massively streamlined and simplified the Council’s financial transactions, procurement and invoicing systems with a focus on making life easier for suppliers and customers.
Ms Hay also led the Council’s Legal, Risk and Insurance department.
Ms Hay will join Wellington City Council on 20 July. She succeeds Andy Matthews, who is leaving after seven years in the CFO role to pursue opportunities in the private sector.
Ms McKerrow says Mr Matthews has done a magnificent job for the city – particularly in the past few months when the Council’s budget plans have had to be torn up and restarted virtually from scratch due to the pandemic’s dramatic effects.
“Andy has built up and maintained a very strong financial team and he will be on hand to show Sara the ropes and ensure a smooth transition.”