Following a four month process searching for a new Chief Executive Officer for the Waitaki District Council, a decision was made today to formally appoint the successful candidate to the role. From an initial pool of 72 applicants, Mayor Gary Kircher has announced that Councillors have unanimously endorsed the appointment of Mr Fergus Power to the position, taking over from current Chief Executive, Michael Ross. Mr Ross has held the position since the beginning of 2004. Mr Power has recently been described as a ‘Man of Action’ by New Zealand Life & Leisure Magazine, and comes to the district from his role as Chief Executive of Wairoa District Council. Prior to that, he ran a law firm in Queensland. Mayor Kircher said it was Mr Power’s reputation for innovation and for lifting customer service which helped him win the position. “Some of the initiatives have been amazing achievements for any district, and especially one such as Wairoa,” said Mayor Kircher. “Getting Rocket Lab to locate to the area was an absolute gold medal achievement, given the concerted efforts of so many other districts and cities to win the company over. And his international intern programme has paid big dividends, with up to 15 European university interns working in Wairoa at any one time, with their expenses paid for by their home country governments. The programme has been applauded as the leading model of its kind in New Zealand, and its existence has attracted the interest of universities and research bodies throughout the world. These are the type of things that we want to see for Waitaki as we grow and become an even better place to live.” Mayor Gary Kircher said that in addition to Mr Power’s highly customer-centric approach to service delivery, as a former commercial lawyer and litigator, Mr Power’s negotiation and dispute mediation skills, along with commercial and financial understanding will prove highly valuable assets for the Waitaki district. “Councillors believe that Mr Power’s capacity to offer exceptional value to the residents of the district is underpinned by multiple relevant degrees, intensive ongoing professional development, and a thorough understanding of local government processes (having held senior management roles in territorial local authorities, regional councils and central government in New Zealand). He has previous CEO experience, along with private sector experience as a commercial litigator in Auckland. An unusually high number of applicants contended for the position, and while some highly-ranked candidates showed very strong attributes, at the end of the day there can be only one winner, and Mr Power’s across-the-board strength and experience marked him out”, said Mayor Kircher. Mr Power thanked Mayor Gary Kircher and Councillors for their confidence in him and said that he was very much looking forward to meeting all of the team at Council when he takes up his new role in September. “I never imagined moving on from Te Wairoa”, Mr Power said. “However, a once in a lifetime dream came true when this South Island role presented itself. I have had a life-long interest in living in the Waitaki district, with its famously warm community and stunning geography ranging from soaring alps to awesome ocean. The world-class heritage buildings are unique and add a richness to the deep history of this part of New Zealand. However, the opportunity never arose until now”, he said. “I’m looking forward to building upon the great work of retiring CEO Michael Ross, and my partner Tri and I are looking forward to joining the community of Waitaki and to contributing to the happiness and prosperity of the district over the next five years”, he said. Current CEO, Michael Ross leaves his office for the final time on Friday 30 June, and Council’s Assets Group Manager, Neil Jorgensen, will be Acting Chief Executive until Mr Power takes up his new role on 18 September 2017.