Former mayoral candidate Chris Simpson has been appointed new chief executive of the Waikato Chamber of Commerce.
Chris, also a former chief executive of the Property Council of New Zealand, will take the reins from outgoing chief executive William Durning on July 9.
“The Chamber Board is delighted to welcome Chris to the organisation; selected from a strong list of more than 40 candidates,” said board chairman Terry Wilson.
“Chris’s passion for Waikato, supported by his leadership, research and strategic thinking skills will drive the Chamber to an even greater role for businesses large and small across the region,” he said.
“Chris has the benefit of assuming the role from William Durning, who has driven significant change and growth in the organisation in the three-and-a half years he has been with us. William leaves behind him a strong, successful, financially viable and credible organisation – a great foundation on which Chris can build the Waikato Chamber of Commerce of the future.”
Originally from Waikato, Chris started his career in Parliament where he was director of research. He was then chief executive of the Property Council of New Zealand and before moving back to Waikato he worked in international operations for the Australian Trade and Investment Commission at the Australian High Commission in Wellington.
Chris was manager of economic development at Hamilton City Council from 2013-2016 before he stood for the Hamilton mayoralty in 2016, polling third. After the mayoral campaign he has been operating as an independent strategy consultant and was recently on the organising board for a major NZ urbanism conference held in Wellington.
“On behalf of the Waikato Chamber team – Kirstie, Karen and branch manager Paula – we are excited with the news that Chris has been appointed to this role and we look forward to working with him as the Chamber continues to grow,” said William.
“The skills and commercial experiences that Chris has will be of significant value to our organisation and we are fortunate indeed to have him lead the Chamber.”
The Chamber is planning a function to welcome Chris, and farewell William on July 26.