How council works

Executive team

Chief Executive: Stephen Town

I am responsible for leading Auckland Council and ensuring that we do what we say we will do and deliver. In my first three years I will be:

  • encouraging better cohesion within the council family of organisations
  • building partnerships with central government, business and our communities
  • supporting a positive culture, dedicated to serving citizens, ratepayers and customers continuing our drive for efficiency in everything we do.

Previously I have been a Regional Director of the NZ Transport Agency, the Chief Executive of Tauranga City Council, and the Chief Executive of the Franklin District Council. I began my career in the education sector at the Wanganui Education Board and took up my first Chief Executive position in 1994, at the Wanganui Regional Community Polytechnic.

When I’m not working, I spend all of my time with my family -  I have six kids and two grandkids.

Chief Financial Officer: Sue Tindal

The Finance Division encompasses both financial and non-financial functions, all with the common theme of enabling this organisation to deliver quality services in a responsible way.

These functions include financial policy and planning, monitoring and reporting, debt and investment management, budgeting and forecasting, valuation and rating, billing and receivables, procurement and purchasing – in summary, what is usually identified as core financial functions.

In addition the division includes Property, Information Services, CCO Governance & External Partnerships and Project Central within its portfolio.

My role as Chief Finance Officer has responsibility to ensure that the organisation acts prudently and with fiscal responsibility, recognising that we are the stewards of substantial assets and revenue held on behalf of our communities, and can have a significant impact on their daily lives, both now and into the future.

I am a passionate Aucklander and returned to live in this great city in 2014 having spent the previous 15 years living and working offshore. I bring a wealth of experience with me, having held numerous senior or chief executive roles in financial services, energy and IT in New Zealand, Australia, Asia and the USA.  Aucklanders can have confidence in our continuing commitment to investing in priority areas across Auckland while providing value for money.

Chief Operating Officer: Dean Kimpton

As Chief Operating Officer, I lead the division responsible for providing the vast majority of Auckland Council’s public facing services. Council’s operations touch Aucklanders’ lives in so many ways, from the provision of essential services such as rubbish collection and stormwater drainage through to social and cultural aspects such as libraries, art, parks and recreation, and community safety.

I trained as an engineer, and since then have held a variety of senior executive roles, working closely with government, utility and private sector organisations in New Zealand and overseas. Most recently I have focused on business leadership, change management and business development roles.

I also edited ‘Auckland Connected’, a book released in 2012, which looks at the opportunities and challenges facing Auckland in becoming the world’s most liveable city.

On a personal note, I have four sons, am a passionate supporter of all things sport-related and value living in a region that delivers such fantastic sporting, cultural and creative opportunities. I’ve called Auckland home since I was eight years old.

Chief of Strategy: Jim Quinn

I am looking forward to building a strong and positive culture and creating an organisation dedicated to our citizens, ratepayers and customers.

My past roles included inaugural CEO of KiwiRail, and management roles with New Zealand Post, Advantage Group, WEL Energy, QED Software and New Zealand Couriers. I was previously Chair of MCom for nine years and am currently a director at Lyttelton Port, Payments New Zealand, Halls Group, Go Bus and Chair of Intilecta.

I’m an avid music fan across a range of styles and I regularly attend around 20 concerts each year. I’m also a keen golfer and reader – particularly of thrillers and detective novels. My favourite thing to do is spend time with my wife and three daughters

Communication and Engagement Director: Karl Ferguson

I am responsible for managing the council’s internal and external communications.

This includes:

  • online content and channel strategy
  • brand and print design services
  • research, consultation and engagement
  • communications support to the Governing Body, Local Boards and non-self-sufficient CCOs.

Previously, I was Group Manager Communications for the Ministry of Education. From 2009 to 2011 I was National Manager, Strategic Engagement and Communications for the New Zealand Transport Agency. While in this role I was seconded to the Ministry of Civil Defence as part of the response team to the February earthquakes, and latterly to CERA as the interim Group Manager, Communications and Engagement.

I am keen motoring enthusiast and write a number of car review columns for various lifestyle magazines – it’s a great way to keep my hand in as a journalist which is what I trained in. I also like to sail, and look forward to spending some time on Waitemata Harbour over the summer.

Legal and Risk Director: Katherine Anderson

I am excited about leading the delivery of high quality legal services to support Auckland Council’s operating needs and its strategic goals and objectives. I am thrilled to be able to contribute to the development of Auckland as a member of the Executive Leadership Team.

I am a senior leader with a strong legal and governance background. I was previously the General Manager, Policy, Performance and Legal for the New Zealand Police in Wellington and a member of the Police Executive. Prior to this role I led the Police’s participation in the Pike River Royal Commission, for which I received a Police Commissioner’s Commendation.

I bring extensive public sector experience. I have provided legal and policy advice to the Prime Minister during my employment with the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. I also bring significant public sector litigation expertise, having worked at Crown Law and as a senior litigator in a major law firm, and am a member of the Human Rights Review Tribunal.

Governance Director: Phil Wilson

I have held a number of senior management roles; previously Chief of Staff in the Mayor's office (Auckland Council); General Manager of HR and Communications for Manukau City Council and then Chief Advisor to that organisation which included leading both the Chief Executive and Mayoral offices (Manukau City Council).

I'm looking forward to my new role and I already have clear ideas about where I want to take the department. I want to develop the Directorate as a centre of excellence and innovation for both democratic and corporate governance practice and to be a real contributor to the strategic outcomes we are striving to deliver for Auckland.

People and Capability Director: Christine Etherington

I arrived in New Zealand from the UK in early 2011 to lead the HR function at the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) in Wellington. After 4 years at MSD I was keen to make a permanent move to Auckland – knowing early on that Auckland was where I wanted to settle.

The role of People and Capability Director at Auckland Council is a dream role and I am delighted that this opportunity will enable me to contribute to the future development of the city, and particularly to the development of our people and culture here at Auckland Council.

I have a wide range of senior and executive experience as an HR practitioner and leader, but also as a leader in the business – once upon a time I ran production lines for H.J. Heinz. I believe that having over 10 years' experience in business line management and leadership has helped me to be a better HR leader.

As well as four years at MSD, and more recently as Director of Strategic HR at Auckland District Health Board, my previous experience has been in roles at Ford Motor Company, Network Rail and the Department for Work and Pensions in the UK; bringing a wide range of experience from large and complex organisations across both public and private sector.

I live in Auckland with my partner and, as relatively new Aucklanders, we enjoy walking around the city, exploring the magnificent surrounding countryside, and indulging in our love of food and music.

Transformation Director: Patricia Reade

I lead the key change projects aimed at transforming the customer experience, delivering better value for money to Aucklanders and building a high performance team in Auckland Council.

Before I became Transformation Director, I was Chief Operating Officer for Auckland Council when it was established in 2010, where I was responsible for leading the operations division.

Throughout my career, I have held a variety of senior leadership positions in the public service sector, including Head of Work and Income New Zealand prior to Council, one of the largest government agencies in New Zealand. I have also held leadership roles in the Department of Labour and the Department of Education and Employment in London.

I hold a Masters Degree in Public Administration from Victoria University.


Community Services Director: Ian Maxwell

Ian Maxwell

As Director of Community Services I am accountable for the delivery of service from libraries, parks, sports grounds, beaches, swimming pools, recreation and fitness centres, cemeteries, community centres, houses and halls, art centres and public art, housing for older people, community development and events.

Prior to this role I was responsible for the Parks Sports and Recreation Department at Auckland Council and before that I led the Community Services Division at Manukau City.

I am an economist and urban planner by training and have worked overseas with development banks. I am married with two daughters, and enjoy tramping and cycling as well as teaching local history.


Regulatory Services Director: Penny Pirrit

Penny PirritI am responsible for leading the Regulatory Services Directorate, which covers Resource Consents, Building Control, and Licensing and Compliance.

A key function of these departments is to provide excellent service and advice to customers and businesses aiming to get building or land use consent and licences. Animal management, environmental health, noise control and alcohol licensing are also delivered by Regulatory Services.

I am a town planner by profession and have over 25 years’ experience in local government. Previously, I was the Plans and Places General Manager, where I led the development of the Unitary Plan - the new resource management plan for Auckland. Prior to this I held various roles in the former Auckland City Council including General Manager Transport and City Planning Department Manager.

I am an Aucklander born and bred and have lived most of my adult life in the foothills of the Waitakere Ranges with my husband and two daughters. We love living in the bush close to Auckland’s west coast beaches.


Infrastructure and Environmental Services Director: Barry PotterBarry Potter                                       

As Director of Infrastructure and Environmental Services, I am responsible for Healthy Waters, Environmental Services, the Development Programme Office, Waste Solutions, plus Engineering and Technical Services. 

Prior to this role I held senior executive and chief officer positions in private sector consulting firms in New Zealand and Asia.    My background is in civil engineering on major infrastructure projects in New Zealand, South Pacific and Asia.


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