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CDC Chief Executive announces resignation

CDC Chief Executive announces resignation

CDC (Canterbury Development Corporation) Chief Executive Chris Pickrill has today announced his resignation, after 12 years leading Christchurch City’s economic development agency.

His time at CDC had been “stimulating and enjoyable”, Mr Pickrill says in letters to key stakeholders sent out yesterday.

“This has much to do with the huge variety of challenges and opportunities that working in the field of economic development provides,” he says.

“As part of that journey I have met and worked with literally hundreds of interesting people at local, regional, national and international levels who have, for the most part, shared the opportunity to make a difference to our communities through the sort of work we do.”

Mr Pickrill’s role includes positions as Chairperson of CORE Education, Canterbury Innovation Incubator (cii), and start-up health innovation companies Boundary Lifesciences and Intersection Lifesciences. He has been a chairperson of HITLab NZ Ltd, and is a board member of the Sustainable Initiatives Fund, KEA, EDANZ, and Geospatial Research Centre NZ, a trustee of the Untouched World Foundation and a Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Management.

CDC Board chair Garth Carnaby says Mr Pickrill will be sorely missed.

"Chris has been a charismatic and successful chief executive for CDC. He has led it through 12 years of growth and has contributed both to many economic initiatives in the region and to numerous external bodies. Chris's experience will be hard to replace,” Dr Carnaby says.

During Mr Pickrill’s time at CDC, turnover has grown from $2.2 million to a maximum of $7.4 million and staff numbers from 20 to a maximum of 56. Under his leadership, CDC set up a comprehensive regional enterprise training programme contract with central government which is viewed as the ‘gold’ standard in New Zealand; developed a specialist Hi-Tech Launch Management capability programme which is recognised as being of global quality; and established ‘Connect Canterbury’ as part of the Global Connect network of support for growth companies requiring capital raising and market access solutions.

Mr Pickrill has also played a lead role in:

* Establishing the Canterbury Innovation Incubator;
* Establishing the Canterbury Economic Development Fund;
* Attracting to Christchurch world class research entities HIT Lab (NZ) Ltd, CORE Education Ltd and Geospatial Research Centre NZ Ltd;
* Introducing the Pratt & Whitney/Air New Zealand Christchurch Engine Centre test cell facility opportunity which is now recognised as the gold standard globally by Pratt & Whitney;
* Development of regional and city economic development strategies on behalf of the region’s stakeholders;
* Development and management of the largest BITC mentor pool in New Zealand (220 mentors);
* Development of the ‘Actionworks’ youth employment and transition management initiative which has played a major role in reducing youth unemployment in the city;
* Introducing the opportunity for Christchurch to put in place a state of the art fibre optic telecommunications network through the negotiation of a $3.75 million subsidy under the Government’s Broadband Challenge Scheme. This has led to the subsequent establishment of infrastructure company Christchurch City Networks Ltd (CCNL) which is currently overseeing the roll out of the fibre network.

Mr Pickrill describes himself as a “dyed in the wool Cantabrian” and will be staying in Christchurch to pursue private business interests.

CDC Chief Operating Officer Gerard Quinn will be acting Chief Executive from Mr Pickrill’s departure at the end of June until a new appointment is made.

A search for a new chief executive has now been initiated by the CDC Board. The position will be advertised internationally from this Saturday.


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