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WREDA Senior Leadership Team appointed

20 Apr 2016

Seven people have been appointed to work with CEO Chris Whelan to lead the Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency (WREDA).

The team contains three external appointments, plus four internal appointments and direct transfers from the organisations that have been brought together to form WREDA.

  • David Perks, GM Venues and Project Development
    David has been CEO of Positively Wellington Tourism since 2008, during which time he has overseen the increase in Wellington’s commercial guest nights by 18%, including a 26% rise in domestic guest nights. Previously David was GM of the Copthorne Hotel & Resort Bay of Islands.
  • Adele Fitzpatrick, GM Destination and Marketing.
    Adele joins WREDA from Loyalty New Zealand where she was Head of Marketing. Previously, Adele was General Manager at digital developer Clicksuite and also held senior communication and marketing roles at Transpower and Meridian Energy.
  • Sally Kane, GM Business Services.
    Sally is a qualified accountant and experienced business operations leader who has held senior positions within some of New Zealand’s largest major events. Her recent roles include leading the Corporate Services teams for Cricket World Cup 2015 and Rugby World Cup 2011.

  • Jeremy Harding, GM Development and Foresight.
    Jeremy is an internal appointment, who was previously the WREDA Economic Strategy Manager at Grow Wellington. Prior to that he was Manager of Policy and International at the Wellington Employers Chamber of Commerce.
  • David Jones, GM Business Growth and Innovation.
    David returns to New Zealand from the UK, having previously led the renewal and development of Auckland’s CBD for Auckland City Council.  He joins WREDA from Fusion Go, a business accelerator programme he founded in 2014.  In February 2016, he was included in The Sunday Times ‘Maserati 100’ list in recognition of his services to entrepreneurship.

  • Warrick Dent, GM Events and Partnerships.
    Warrick is currently Manager of Major Events at the Wellington City Council and will lead the transfer of that function into WREDA . Previously he was Head of Commercial, Communication and Events for the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union, and prior to that held project management roles at Goldman Sachs.
  • Stefan Korn, CEO of Creative HQ.
    Stefan is the current CEO of business accelerator Creative HQ and will continue in that role. He is also a founding investor of Lightning Lab and was previously Managing Director of Wellington-based angel investor Webfund.

CEO Chris Whelan says the appointments mark a significant milestone for WREDA.

“This is a sign that we’re out of our establishment phase and we’re ready to start work in earnest delivering a more co-ordinated approach to economic development in the Wellington region.  The leadership team is bursting with talent and ideas. From now on, we’re going to see a renewed energy and sharper focus in economic development initiatives for our region,” he said.

Newly-appointed GM, Destination & Marketing Adele Fitzpatrick is enthusiastic about joining WREDA.

“I’ve been promoting Wellington since I was 18 years old when I left for my OE with an ‘Absolutely Positively Wellington’ t-shirt that I wore everywhere. 

I’m very excited about being part of a team that can make a positive impact on Wellington’s economic future.  We’ve had the most amazing summer and autumn - there’s definitely been a very happy feel to the city with locals and visitors busy making the most of everything. It’s a perfect time to start in this role to build on that momentum.”

Jeremy Harding, appointed as GM Development & Foresight from within WREDA, said he was very pleased to be part of the new Senior leadership Team.

 “The Wellington economy has a number of strengths and untapped opportunities and this is a very exciting time to be part of an organisation dedicated to telling its story and capitalising on those opportunities.  Underpinning both storytelling and strategy with robust economic analysis will be critical to our success and I’m looking forward to leading the development of that capacity within WREDA”

Mr Whelan says the Senior Leadership Team will all be in place by May 16.

WREDA was formed to drive economic development in the Wellington region. It brings together four previously separate agencies - Positively Wellington Tourism, Grow Wellington, Positively Wellington Venues, Creative HQ. It also takes over responsibility for major events promotion from the Wellington City Council. CEO Chris Whelan took up his role in late 2015.

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