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CEO Appointment: MFAT

Chief Executive Appointment: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

The State Services Commissioner, Michael Wintringham, announced today the appointment of Simon Murdoch as Chief Executive and Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Mr Murdoch is presently New Zealand's High Commissioner to Australia, a position he had held since March 1999.

Mr Murdoch has extensive experience in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, which he joined in 1972. He has held positions in the Economic Division and Asian Division and postings to Washington and Canberra.

In 1980 Mr Murdoch began the first of two secondments to the Prime Minister's Office, rising to the position of Director, Policy Advisory Group in 1989. In 1991, Mr Murdoch was appointed chief executive of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, a position he held for seven years.

Mr Murdoch was the Visiting Professor of Public Policy and Management at Victoria University from 1998 to 1999. He has a First Class Masters Degree in American Studies from Canterbury University.

"Mr Murdoch has an outstanding track record as a senior public servant and diplomat. He has a high standing in the international diplomatic community and is well respected locally for his leadership skills and high level of personal integrity," Mr Wintringham said.

"He has an excellent understanding of New Zealand's domestic and foreign policy issues and the relationship management skills necessary to develop effective partnerships with a wide range of governments, agencies, business organisations and private sector interests.

"Mr Murdoch intends to continue the programme of work initiated by the previous chief executive, Neil Walter, aimed at upgrading the Ministry's capability and management systems," Mr Wintringham said.

Mr Wintringham said he was pleased at the very high quality of the candidates who applied for the position.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade is the Government's principal adviser on foreign affairs, security, international trade and official development assistance. The Ministry manages the Government's overall relationships with other countries, particularly in the Asia/Pacific region, and international organisations to promote New Zealand's interests and reputation. The Ministry employs around 600 New Zealand-based staff.

Mr Murdoch will take up his position once arrangements are in place to maintain New Zealand's important diplomatic relationship with Australia.

Ends


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