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New Chair for economic development organisation


New Chair for economic development organisation, Priority One

Thursday 20 November 2008

Priority One, the economic development organisation for Tauranga and the Western Bay of Plenty, is pleased to announce the election of Frank Aldridge as the new Chair of the Executive Board. Frank is Chief Executive Officer of ABN AMRO Craigs, one of New Zealand’s largest private wealth management firms, which has its head office based in Tauranga. He has previously served two terms as a Priority One Board member.

Frank brings significant experience and knowledge to this key role. In addition to some eight years with ABN AMRO Craigs involving all facets of private wealth management, NZX capital raisings and corporate advisory work, Frank previously worked as an analyst at the New Zealand Stock Exchange. He has also played a key role on the governance group in the recent development of the Bay of Plenty regional economic development strategy, which recently secured $360,000 in central government funding for economic development projects.

With a business degree with a double major in economics and international business, Frank was recognised early in his career for his ability and leadership qualities. Under his guidance, the growth of ABN AMRO Craigs has surpassed expectations, with 17 branches around New Zealand and client holdings of more than $13 billion.

Murray Denyer, General Manager Corporate Services and General Counsel for ZESPRI International Ltd, has been elected Deputy Chair of the Board. As part of ZESPRI’s senior management team, Murray is closely involved in setting and implementing the company’s strategic direction. With a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Commerce, Murray’s experience includes commercial and international trade law, human resources and government relations. He also spent eight years in the diplomatic service with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, including a three year posting in the Netherlands. Murray has been involved with Priority One’s Board for two years.

Priority One is a unique model for an economic development organisation, having been established by business leaders in partnership with the region’s local authorities. The organisation works to actively encourage businesses to grow by working with key influencers to remove impediments to business establishment and development. It is run along business principles and has a strong connection with the business community, enabling it to operate as an independent entity.

“I am excited at being given this opportunity to Chair Priority One’s Board and committed to growing the economy, both locally and regionally.” says Frank. “The current state of the economy only makes the role of an economic development organisation all the more vital. Priority One’s strong business membership and local authority support means it is in a good position to deliver the outcomes required to ensure a robust and dynamic economy that is sustainable into the future. This will ensure we are at the leading edge in the national and international competition for economic growth.”

Priority One is working on initiatives to build and promote the region’s competitive advantages to facilitate business growth and the commercialisation of ideas. Key areas of focus include progression of the Harbour Central Marine Precinct development and the attraction and retention of businesses and investment in the core industry sectors of marine, food and horticulture, and information & communications technology. This includes the promotion of commercial land opportunities, providing an effective interface with developers and landowners to effect the growth of investment, and supporting the establishment of infrastructure to ensure economic development is not constrained.

“Priority One is on the cusp of several exciting developments linked to attracting highly productive and innovative businesses to the Western Bay of Plenty” says Priority One Chief Executive Andrew Coker. “We are very fortunate to have people of the calibre of Frank and Murray to lead us into the next stage of economic development in the sub-region. Priority One was established to develop economic sustainability beyond that of just population growth. The experience that Murray and Frank bring to the Board will be invaluable in achieving our goals of retaining and attracting businesses that have a disproportionate ability to grow, are export focused and employ skilled and talented people.”

Frank Aldridge succeeds Murray Davies, who stepped down from the role of Chair in October. He acknowledged the “exceptional contribution” of Davies, who had served in the role for seven years and remains on Priority One’s advisory council.


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