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BHB Chief Executive resigns

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Business Hawke's Bay


Susan White has resigned as Chief Executive of Business Hawke’s Bay, the region’s business-led economic development agency. 

Mrs White, who took up the position in July 2013, has been instrumental in seeing the agency grow from a team of two to five, and played a pivotal role in the establishment of the Hawke’s Bay Business Hub in Ahuriri where BHB and 14 other business support services are now co-located.

Her last day will be 7 April and she will join FPG as its global marketing director on 10 April.

BHB chairman Stu McLauchlan says that over the past three years Mrs White had made an outstanding contribution to both the organisation and to economic development in the region.

“Susan’s ability to achieve much with a small team and limited resource is a reflection on her skills and determination,” he said.

“Susan was responsible for instigating a review of the regional economic development strategy created in 2011 and this subsequently led to the collaborative development of Matariki – Hawke’s Bay Regional Economic Development Strategy 2016 (REDS). Her tenacity to see this through to its launch last year, and since, has demonstrated her commitment to the region.

“Her ongoing work to manage the Business Hub is also significant, and we are proud that this initiative has received recognition at a national level.”

The BHB board is now working towards recruiting a new CEO.

For FPG managing director, Robert Darroch, who as a BHB board member has worked with Mrs White during her time there and previously when she was Regional Manager at NZTE, it signals a new opportunity for his business.

“This is a brand new role and it gives us the opportunity to fill a gap in our business that is very timely,” said Mr Darroch.

“FPG has spent the past three and half years on R&D for new temperature-controlled display products and now we’re ready to launch these into the European and Middle East markets. Susan’s experience and skills in global marketing will complement our team very well and allow dedicated focus on these new product releases.

“With my BHB hat on, it’s also positive that someone of Susan’s calibre remains in Hawke’s Bay.”

Tom Skerman, HB Regional Council Economic Development Manager believes that Mrs White’s ability to remain professional at all times, despite the challenges of working within “a very demanding multi-stakeholder environment”, was a credit to her.

HBRC was a co-funder of BHB and tasked the agency with the responsibility of driving collaboration across projects to benefit the region, Mr Skerman said.

“Susan held closely to a guiding principle of collaboration and to her credit, never strayed from that. As a consequence, she achieved a significant amount and is to be respected for the incredible hard work she’s put in to achieve landmark outcomes such as the Business Hub and Matariki REDS, as well as initiatives such as the Infant Formula project and securing Jetstar’s service.”

Alasdair MacLeod of Growth Solutions NZ and strategic advisor to Matariki, praised Mrs White’s contribution to the REDS process. He believes that Mrs White was “one of the best project managers I have ever worked with”, and that “we wouldn't have the polished final REDS product that we do have without her hard work.”

Amanda Liddle, Executive Officer, Export NZ Hawke’s Bay and based at the Hawke’s Bay Business Hub, acknowledged Mrs White’s “commercial nous”.

“Susan has been on the judging panel of the Hawke’s Bay Export Awards since their inception and brought to the judging table a huge depth of expertise and knowledge.  With her previous experience in export, she is well aware of what the issues are for exporters and what makes them tick. She’s been invaluable in her support of ExportNZ in this role - once an exporter, always an exporter.

“As a colleague in the Hawke’s Bay Business Hub, Susan has the ability to be sympathetic to both the commercial and political dictates of the role, and has always managed to keep things moving forward. The success of the Business Hub is certainly owed to Susan and her stamina and constant dedication towards it.”



For more information, contact
Stu McLauchlan
Business Hawke’s Bay
06 831 0445