Wellington City Council appoints new Chief Executive

20 November 2019

Wellington City Council today formally agreed to appoint Barbara McKerrow as its new Chief Executive, to replace Kevin Lavery.

Image of new CEO Barbara McKerrow

New CEO Barbara McKerrow

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Ms McKerrow is currently Council’s Chief Operating Officer, with existing responsibility for approximately 1100 of Council’s 1800 staff.

Mayor Andy Foster says: “We chose Barbara from an exceptionally high quality field of candidates, which included several people with extensive Chief Executive experience.

“We’ve all been very impressed with Barbara’s work over the last 2 ½ years as our Chief Operating Officer. Prior to this she had an impressive track record as New Plymouth District Council Chief Executive for nine years.

“Barbara knows our city, the local government sector, and knows our Council, its people, and the challenging but exciting work programme we are embarking on. She impressed us as being able to drive delivery of this programme and will be able to hit the ground running, not losing any momentum in the changeover. She is very much the leader of a team, is well respected by Council staff, and is very attuned to engaging with iwi and the residential and business communities.

“Barbara is a very authentic, approachable leader. She has demonstrated the practical ability to deliver value for money outcomes, address difficult decisions on multiple occasions through her career, and has recently overseen the rapid response to the closure of our Central Library. 

“I am delighted to announce Barbara’s appointment, and we all very much look forward to working with her as our new Chief Executive.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Kevin Lavery for his hard work and dedication to Wellington and Wellingtonians over the last seven years.

“Kevin has been fundamental in leading this city through a huge period of significant transformation and changing the culture of the City Council – from can’t do to can do.

“I speak for all my Councillors in saying we are very grateful to all the people who applied, for their passion to serve our city, and particularly to those really impressive people who went through the final interview process. Each of them brought huge mana and skills before us.

“I am also grateful to our advisors in this executive recruitment process and to all Councillors for the thoroughly professional and confidential way in which they have been involved in the process of short listing and the final interview,” says Mayor Foster.

Barbara McKerrow says: “I’m absolutely delighted to be offered the position of Chief Executive of Wellington City Council.  I am proud to work for Wellington, the communities we serve and the talented staff in our organisation. It is a privilege to be entrusted to build on the strong foundations put in place by Kevin Lavery, and to support our Mayor and Council to shape the successful future of our beautiful city.”

The employment of a Council Chief Executive is prescribed by legislation and must be for an initial five year term.