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A change in leadership

May 16, 2019

A change in leadership

Our Head Honcho is stepping down to pursue something he feels very passionate about. Here's what he had to say:

Over the past six months, the Board and I have been in discussions regarding a transition in my Chief Executive responsibilities at Sustainability Trust. After a six-month sabbatical in 2017/18 in Europe, it brought home to me there are tremendous opportunities for NZ to up our game in community emissions reductions projects and deliver benefits to the thousands of Kiwi households suffering in poor quality homes with high energy bills. And that while the CE role is pivotal in determining delivery of our strategy, the requirement to be over the top of all the Trust’s work means I have limited time to focus on design and delivery in these areas.

The outcome is that I have decided to step down as Chief Executive and move into a programme management role focusing on developing our fuel poverty and climate change mitigation portfolio. We are now on the hunt for a new Chief Executive to lead the organisation into the next 10-15 years of sustainability-focused work.

In terms of future direction, we are planning for growth both in our energy efficiency work and environmental/social impact programmes. With the Healthy Homes Standards coming into force on 1 July 2019, the government’s Warmer Kiwi Homes programme, and a number of other national and local household energy efficiency initiatives gathering steam, we are targeting a significant increase in our delivery. And with the passing of the Zero Carbon Act and urgent action required to get our emissions to zero and below, the Trust will be focussing on increasing our impact in this area.

I’m feeling a little sad to relinquish the “captains” role and have had a number of sleepless nights about whether this is the right step. Community enterprises like the Trust are a rare beast and only succeed due a mix of heart-centred passion and commercial acumen. Over my 15 years with the Trust, with 10 as CE we’ve grown the Trust from a team of 2 part-timers to an organisation with over 40 employees. The crew we have here, and those many past staff and trustees have moulded this organisation into an advocate and deliverer of practical sustainability solutions for our region.

It is with excitement now, that we are now looking forward to welcoming a new Chief Executive to inject their energy and grow our impact as we face the environmental and social challenges ahead. We will be casting the net wide and encourage you to talk about this opportunity within your networks. While the recruitment process will be handled by our Board, I will be deeply involved in a seamless handover to the new appointee. We expect to have the recruitment complete within the next three months and will make an announcement shortly after.

Nga mihi

Phil Squire





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