Economic development agency Whanganui & Partners has announced the appointment of Hannah Middleton in the role of Chief Executive.
Middleton is currently Whanganui & Partners’ Strategic Lead International and Capability, having joined the agency more than two years ago.
Middleton was pleased to be taking over the role at a time when Whanganui was so well positioned, she said.
“Whanganui & Partners has a strong team with some exciting projects across our key strategic areas in business, education and capability, branding and marketing,and creative industries.
“I am most excited to empower the team to continue the momentum and success within these areas.”
Middleton said Whanganui was perfectly positioned to make gains despite the economic effects of Covid-19.
“We have experienced growth in population, growth in retail spend and been less affected by job losses than others in New Zealand.
“This confidence is reflected in the energy Whanganui has,” she said.
Middleton said she saw the agency as the backroom driving economic opportunities.
“Our job is to see the big picture, pick out the gems and instigate or support projects and investment. Our biggest opportunity is to build strong partnerships that collaboratively contribute to project development, investment and building capability.”
Middleton said her experience leading the agency’s International and Capability approach had helped her to build a strong understanding across key sectors, and to develop relationships with industry, local and central Government agencies and across the broader Manawatū-Whanganui region.
She also holds roles on the Whanganui District Employment Training Trust and the Interim Regional Skills Leadership Group.
Whanganui & Partners Interim Chief Executive Gaelle Deighton said she was confident Middleton would further work to maintain the agency’s strong presence in support of the business, tourism, education and creative industries.
“Whanganui & Partners is well placed with the new Chief Executive, and its calibre of staff, to really drive more economic outcomes for the region.”
Deighton was delighted to hand the reins over to Middleton, she said.
“It’s been a real privilege to work with a high quality team,” she said. “Hannah has a wealth of experience and a deep understanding of economic development. She has achieved significant economic outcomes for Whanganui in her current role and is widely respected by the business community.”
The board had undertaken a rigorous process to arrive at its decision, with strong interest in the position from within Whanganui and outside the district, Deighton said.
Middleton, who grew up in in rural South Taranaki, said she loved the regional New Zealand lifestyle.
She was heading into the CE role with a clear vision, and was pleased to have the full support of the Whanganui & Partners team, she said.
“The existing relationships and partnerships with iwi and hapū, with business and with local and central Government provide a huge advantage to provide our community with consistency and to continue to grow the momentum at Whanganui & Partners,” she said.
Middleton will begin her Chief Executive role in the New Year.
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