Auckland Council’s new chief executive Jim Stabback took up his new role today, with three important things on his ‘to do’ list for his first 12 months.
Delivering on the council’s Emergency Budget 2020/21, which was adopted by the Governing Body at the end of July, is at the top of the list.
“I am very focused on delivery, performance and outcomes,” says Mr Stabback. “Council has made a commitment to citizens, communities and businesses of Auckland and our priority is to deliver on those commitments made in the emergency budget.”
Next up is examining the complexity of Australasia’s largest local government organisation and looking for opportunities to simplify.
“We need to take a look at where in the organisation we have made things more complex than they need to be and what else we could to do make council more effective for our customers and our people.
“This includes how we might further simplify work and service delivery practices, and continue to create capabilities that enable the delivery of better service outcomes for our customers,” he says.
Thirdly, Mr Stabback is thinking about how Auckland Council can support Auckland’s recovery and enable it’s return to growth.
“Auckland Council has an important role to play supporting the citizens and businesses of Auckland in every way we can to recover from the impacts of the pandemic. This includes ensuring that our work programs are targeted at the things that matter most to the future growth and success of Auckland and its people,” he says.
Mr Stabback spent much of his early working life in Australia in the financial services, telecommunications and technology sectors and credits his time at large service-based organisations with providing him a strong focus on customer service delivery.
“My career has been characterised by defining, delivering and leading strategic change in large organisations that are founded on long-term customer service relationships,” he says.
On moving to New Zealand, he worked for Westpac before joining ACC as its Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Operating Officer.
“My four years at ACC gave me a great insight into working in a public sector organisation. I joined at a time when ACC was embarking on a very significant transformation and change, and I was proud to lead that as well as the operations of ACC,” he says.
When asked what drew him to Auckland Council, Mr Stabback’s first comment is about working in the city he now calls home.
“When the opportunity came up to join Auckland Council, in a city that feels like home, for an organisation that has a purpose that is so important for the community I’m a part of, it felt like a great opportunity, so here I am.
“I love the diversity of what we do, and I recognise the criticality of those services to the growth and success of Auckland and all Aucklanders.
“This is a really important time for Auckland and New Zealand, not just off the back of the challenges that have emerged from COVID-19. In a city that’s been growing, and where continued investment in infrastructure is required, there are challenges and opportunities around transport, housing and growth.
“I think there’s scope for our organisation to consider its place and the role it plays in delivering to those challenges in the short and long term. As the requirements of the citizens, communities and businesses of Auckland change and evolve, so too the council organisation needs to adapt and evolve to meet those expectations,” he says.
“I love the different feeling in different parts of the region. Clearly there are some challenges as well but I love the vibrancy and diversity of Auckland, and I’m looking forward to making a positive contribution,” he says.
Australian-born Mr Stabback has lived in New Zealand since 2011 with his wife, who is a Kiwi.
Mr Stabback’s first day is 1 September 2020.