Grow Rotorua Ltd, the Rotorua District Council controlled economic development organisation, has appointed its first CEO.
Grow Rotorua chairman John Green announced today that Christchurch-based Francis Pauwels has been appointed to manage the district’s new economic development entity charged with driving implementation of Rotorua’s Sustainable Economic Growth Strategy.
"Francis brings an impressive mix of private and public sector experience that will be immensely valuable to our Grow Rotorua objectives around lifting the district’s economic performance.
"He impressed the recruitment panel with his background and knowledge of business and the wider commercial world, and with his understanding of the unique challenges and economic aspirations of local authorities.
Mr Pauwels has an MBA from Canterbury University and a Bachelor of Science degree from Lincoln. He currently works for Environment Canterbury where he is programme director of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy, a multi-party business project with an estimated $1.7 billion regional GDP contribution.
He has substantial private sector business experience from the wine, aquaculture, aviation and tourism industries.
From 2008 to 2011 Mr Pauwels was strategic policy manager for Marlborough District Council where his responsibilities included the district’s Urban Growth Strategy, reviewing the regional policy statement and resource management plans, and commissioning a new water allocation regime.
He has also served as general manager of New Zealand tourism product wholesale company Halifax, chief executive of specialist equestrian equipment business Zilco and commercial manager for AgResearch.
Mr Pauwels said he was looking forward to his move north to Rotorua and had been impressed by the way Rotorua business leaders, iwi and local government had worked closely together to develop a forward-looking strategy aimed at boosting the local economy.
"With Rotorua’s established strengths in areas such as tourism, agriculture, geothermal, forestry and wood processing I’m confident the district has the potential for a very positive economic future. I'm sure Rotorua can be well positioned to take advantage of business and inward investment opportunities as New Zealand and international economic environments turn the corner.
"Under the guidance of a widely experienced board of directors, and through collaborative partnerships with the council, iwi and the business sector, Grow Rotorua can make a real difference for the Rotorua community and its economic wellbeing. I'm really excited about being part of that process.
Rotorua Mayor Kevin Winters welcomed Mr Pauwels’ appointment and said it meant the establishment of the council’s new economic development organisation was now virtually complete.
"Francis will be working with a very experienced board of directors, under the chairmanship of John Green, and we have high expectations of them.
"The Sustainable Economic Growth Strategy they will be responsible for implementing is a key component in the council’s plans to drive economic growth for Rotorua. With the support and cooperation of local business leaders, iwi organisations and the council, we have a very good platform for achieving those aspirations.
Francis Pauwels is expected to commence his new role as Grow Rotorua CEO in late November.
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