WREDA appoints new CEO

The Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency (WREDA) has appointed Lance Walker its new chief executive.

Walker is the current chief executive of Cigna Insurance based in Wellington. He will start at WREDA on April 1.

“As someone who has lived and worked in the Wellington region all my life I’m a huge advocate for this place and I’m excited to have the opportunity to lead an organisation which is focussed on helping the region to unlock its human and economic potential,” said Walker in a statement yesterday.

“The Wellington region has a unique combination of energy, creativity and innovation which sets it apart as a destination for visitors, businesses and events. I want us to set our sights even higher so that we can build on what has already been achieved and make this the globally competitive region it deserves to be.”

Prior to Cigna Walker was the former chief executive of Loyalty New Zealand, which operates the Fly Buys loyalty programme, and has been chairman of the New Zealand Marketing Association.

He was awarded the Supportive CEO of the Year at the New Zealand Human Resources awards earlier this year.

WREDA chair Peter Biggs said he was pleased someone of Walker’s calibre had been chosen to lead the organisation.

“The Wellington region is on a roll and has significant opportunities ahead of it – and WREDA has a key role to play in realising those opportunities,” said Biggs.

“Given that, the WREDA Board set out to find a CEO who is a proven leader; who has the experience and talent to build and inspire a purpose-driven organisational culture, focused on executing big, transformational initiatives and projects.”

WREDA said it had sought someone who possessed the necessary empathy and relationship skills to take a complex mix of stakeholders along on the journey.

“In Lance, we have all of that experience and ability in spades,” said Biggs.

“He has demonstrated over a number of senior leadership roles that he has all of the attributes required to build on WREDA’s past success and move the organisation forward dramatically and quickly towards making its vision real – to make Wellington the most prosperous, vibrant and liveable region in Australasia by 2025.”

Former chief executive Chris Whelan left in May. Interim CEO Derek Fry will continue in the role until Walker’s arrival.

WREDA is the regional economic development agency for the Wellington region, which combines the economic development activities, including destination promotion, of Wellington City Council and Greater Wellington Regional Council.

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