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New chief executive to lead Primary ITO

New chief executive to lead Primary ITO in delivering for industry

Experienced education leader Nigel Philpott will join Primary ITO as chief executive in October, ready to lead the organisation through the period of change in vocational education.

Following a three-year term, current chief executive Linda Sissons will stay on as a strategic advisor and will have a five-week transition to Mr Philpott. She will also focus on her additional new roles outside Primary ITO with the Skills Leaders Working Group and the establishment board for the New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology.

Primary ITO board chair Mark Darrow says Mr Philpott has an impressive background of strong leadership and work with government ministries, currently as a national programme director with the Ministry of Education.

“Having someone of Nigel’s strategic capability, leadership skills and business network will be very appropriate and applicable as we enter the next critical stages of change and transition.”

Mr Philpott holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Leicester and a Master of Arts from King’s College London. He has served in senior roles with both the British and New Zealand defence forces including as Commandant for the New Zealand Staff College and as Chief of Staff and Chief People Officer.

More recently he was appointed national lead of a ministerial cross-agency task force for the provision of emergency housing and is currently leading the New Zealand education sector in a strategic review of the education workforce.

“We appointed Mr Philpott after a recruitment process that began last year,” says Mr Darrow.

“We are delighted that he’s joining us as we now have a two-to-three year transition approaching with the implementation of the changes in vocational education and training. Appointing a chief executive is one of the most important roles for the Board and I am confident he is the right person for Primary ITO.”

Mr Darrow says Dr Sissons’ continued advice will be invaluable to Primary ITO.

“Her skills are being called upon more in this time of change and development. Her new roles with the Skills Leaders Working Group and the establishment board for the New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology are a recognition of her achievements at Primary ITO.

“We have been fortunate to have Linda leading the organisation during the last three years of change. The environment we work in is changing rapidly with more to come.”


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