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Accomplished Manager To New Executive Position

Accomplished Manager To New Executive Position

10 February 2005 - Wellington


Forest and Bird appoints accomplished manager to new executive position

Forest and Bird has appointed conservation strategist Michael Britton to fill Forest and Bird's re-defined lead position of General Manager, President Dr Gerry McSweeney announced today.

"Michael combines a strong background in strategic, operational and business planning with a long term involvement in nature conservation and protection," Dr McSweeney said.

"Forest and Bird has a proud 82 year history of championing the protection of nature. In today's political and business environment, effective conservation work requires consideration to rigorous strategic, organizational and managerial skills to support dedicated and skilled conservation experts. This new appointment will provide overall vision, direction and leadership to all the Society's staff in delivering a wide range of conservation, administrative, and membership services that ensure the Society achieves its objectives," he said.

"Michael has a special interest in providing stable and focused leadership for the Society and consolidating its position as New Zealand's foremost effective conservation and environmental advocate. At a time when so many of our native species, including our national icon the kiwi, are in decline, Michael's leadership and organizational skills will be crucial in giving support to the Society's effectiveness, especially in election year," he said.

Mr. Britton has significant management experience in the public service, the Public Service Association and in other private interests. He was the first Executive Officer for the Queen Elizabeth National Trust and held a variety of senior managerial positions with the Department of Lands and Survey until 1988. He has also held a number of private secretary, senior private secretary and policy advisor positions to a number of Government Ministers. Additionally, he has a firm background in employer/employee relationships and spent 10 years on the National Executive of the PSA including a term as Vice President.

He worked for the Department of Conservation from 1987 to 1993, holding a variety of positions, including Chief Lands Officer and Chief Internal Auditor as well as Executive Assistant to the Minister of Conservation. As a key advisor to the Minister of Conservation during the development of both the Conservation and Environment Acts, Mr Britton has both a detailed knowledge of these Acts and the thinking behind them."

His career has also involved a long association with Forest and Bird, its national councillors, conservation directors and staff.

"I miss being part of the mainstream conservation effort. Forest and Bird is second to none in New Zealand as an institution recognised and respected by opinion leaders and especially the community," Mr Britton said.

"While providing a stable and focused leadership, I intend to work towards retaining the strength of the Society's brand and conservation values and work with other organisations to achieve common goals to enhance its own effectiveness," he said.

Mr Britton is currently Assistant Director of the New Zealand Fish and Game Council.

Commenting on the move to a single-headed management structure, Dr McSweeney said, "No change in the direction of Forest and Bird is signaled by Mr Britton's appointment. Rather it is a reflection of the Societies need to consolidate and integrate conservation objectives in a more robust framework to support an elite conservation team."


Note: Mr. Britton will start working in the position in mid March.

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