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SSC cans executive search, confirms Carolyn Tremain as MBIE chief executive

Tuesday 14th August 2018

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The acting chief executive for the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Carolyn Tremain, has been confirmed as the permanent replacement for David Smol, who left the position more than a year ago.

Cabinet papers released with the decision show that the State Services Commissioner, Peter Hughes, put the search for a replacement on hold before the 2017 election and then waited while the new government identified its policy priorities and MBIE's urban and housing policy responsibilities were shifted to the newly created Ministry of Housing and Urban Development.

"I believe it is the right time to appoint a substantive CE to the role," says Hughes in the Aug. 2 Cabinet paper. "While I could make an appointment in the usual manner, given the time lapse since the 2017 recruitment process and for reasons of certainty, I propose to appoint Ms Tremain", who was previously Comptroller of Customs, in charge of the Customs Department, which has also been under acting leadership since Tremain moved to MBIE.

The previous government is understood to have wanted to appoint a new MBIE chief executive with substantial private sector experience and was unenthusiastic about candidates who emerged from the public sector. This stalled the process, which might otherwise have been completed prior to the Sept. 23 election.

Tremain is a career public servant with more than 20 years' experience "leading large, complex service delivery organisations and substantial change programmes," Hughes said in his recommendation to the Cabinet Appointments and Honours Committee.

In the MBIE role, she had "proven that she can provide stable and effective leadership and can deliver on the priorities of a large number of responsible ministers. During this time, she has performed credibly and is currently progressing a number of significant initiatives," the paper says.

A search would now commence for the Customs role, Hughes said.


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