Development West Coast

The Background

With the incumbent CEO of Development West Coast (DWC) retiring, Sheffield was briefed by the DWC Board to look for a new Chief Executive.

The brief was to find a replacement who possessed the leadership attributes, ability to work with a variety of stakeholders on the West Coast, and to lead the team in order to enhance economic development in the region.

“When the time came to start a recruitment process we did not have a preferred supplier, so internally we went through a thorough process to find someone,” said DWC Chair, Renee Rooney. “We went with Sheffield, because we liked their national and global reach, not to mention the fact that they were based in the South Island. Their 12-month guarantee was very desirable for us. Also, from when we first engaged with (Executive Director) Mike Stenhouse, he really took the time to get to know us, both as an organisaton and as a Board of Trustees – that was very important.”


What We Did to Help

The preferred candidate was Heath Milne, who had a very successful career in Europe and was returning home to the West Coast with a desire to give back to the community in which he grew up.

“They (Sheffield) were incredibly professional, thorough and always available for us,” said Renee Rooney. “They kept us well engaged throughout the whole process and were open to being challenged on some of their thinking. They’re effectively a one stop shop: psychometric testing, advertising, onboarding etc., which ensured a seamless process”

Shortly following the appointment of Health Milne, two new appointments were also made by Sheffield: CFO, Stuart Brown, and Economic Development Manager (EDM), Jo Birnie. The former was appointed prior to lockdown and the latter appointed after lockdown had commenced.

“With Jo’s appointment, everything was done through zoom meetings,” said Sheffield Consultant Louise Green. “So that meant creating a careful and considered interview plan, exploring candidate strengths, utilising behavioural based questions, being methodical about reference checks and trying to ascertain fit – something that is a challenge without meeting the person face to face.”


What Happened as a Result

Regardless of the lockdown challenge, Heath was confident that Sheffield would get the job done. “I’d been through the process myself,” said Heath. “So, I felt confident the candidate selection would be done in the right way, ensuring the right person with the right skillset would be found. More important however was getting the right fit, something I think Sheffield did very well.”

It’s true that most candidates get a chance to meet their future employer face-to-face. But in this case it was Sheffield’s tried and tested process that overcame the challenge of lockdown - exceeding the clients expectations and placing the right person in the job.

“We had no issues contacting Sheffield during the lockdown,” said Heath. “Overall I’m very happy with the outcome".