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Qualifications Authority Chief Executive announced

9 January 2006

Qualifications Authority Chief Executive announced

The new Chief Executive of the New Zealand Qualifications Authority is Dr Karen Poutasi, the current Director-General of Health. She will take up her new role at the beginning of May.

Qualifications Authority acting Board Chair Catherine Gibson says the Board is delighted that Dr Poutasi has accepted the job.

"Dr Poutasi has been Director-General of Health and Chief Executive of Health since 1995 and has significant management experience at the highest level. She brings a wealth of experience in cultural and organisational change."

Dr Poutasi was responsible for implementing government policy to establish District Health Board (DHBs) and is currently overseeing a major change to the delivery of primary health care.

Catherine Gibson also said that Dr Poutasi has considerable understanding of the education and training needs of the Health and Health Sciences sector, and is well aware of the significance of a robust qualifications framework at all levels.

Dr Poutasi says she is excited about the new challenge.

"I am committed to quality assurance within education. Improving access to education must go hand-in-hand with quality assurance. It will be a pleasure picking up the reins from acting Chief Executive Karen Sewell, and building on the work she has done over the past few months."

Dr Karen Poutasi is a medical graduate of Otago University, and holds Otago University and Harvard University management qualifications. She has held a Harkness Fellowship and is on the New Zealand Appointments Committee for Harkness Fellowships in Health Care Policy.

Karen Sewell will remain as acting Chief Executive until Dr Poutasi takes over in May.

Catherine Gibson has paid tribute to Karen Sewell for the valuable work she has done as acting Chief Executive.

"Her level of commitment, her wisdom and her determination to address the issues has been and continues to be greatly valued. We are most grateful that she has agreed to stay on until Dr Poutasi starts," says Catherine Gibson.

ENDS

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