Review does not discourage CEO candidates

The planned shakeup of Dunedin's Forsyth Barr Stadium has failed to discourage candidates lining up to run the troubled venue, stadium company board chairman Sir John Hansen says.

The review of the stadium operation - with all options on the table - was announced by Dunedin City Council chief executive Dr Sue Bidrose last week, in response to the venue's deteriorating financial outlook.

The news came as Dunedin Venues Management Ltd, which ran the venue, continued its hunt for a new chief executive to replace Darren Burden, who quit late last year.

Sir John told the Otago Daily Times yesterday several candidates had raised questions about the review since it was announced, which would be addressed during interviews next month.

Nobody had opted to withdraw from the recruitment process as a result of the review, he said.

''Whatever is the outcome of the review, there is still going to be a need for a good CEO to lead the organisation in whatever form it may end up in,'' he said.

The company's recruitment drive had been limited to Australasia this time, but had still attracted ''30 or 40'' applications from throughout Australia and New Zealand, he said.

Of those, a shortlist of the most promising candidates would be interviewed - in person or by video link - in mid-February, with an announcement expected days later, he said.

Dr Bidrose said the timing of her announcement had been discussed, given the DVML recruitment process under way, but the review could not wait.

''My view is, if it were me that was applying, I would want to know that I was going to get achievable revenue targets and budgets in place and a model that works.

''I think it is a better proposition to get a good person when they know that they'll be working as part of a process to make the stadium work, rather than continuing to be criticised for one that is failing.''

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull said the review was ''clearly a risk'' to the recruitment process, ''but the bigger risk would have been to delay the review''.

''It's a risk that the people running the stadium, and those in governance positions, are aware of and support despite that.''

DVML is being run by a ''mini-committee'' of board members and senior managers until Mr Burden's replacement starts.

CEO recruitment should be deferred

Why recruit for a CEO when the stadium is under review?  Shouldn't it be deferred until after the review process?  The review may show that a full staff and CEO are not required at a venue with no rugby tests and no major concerts booked for the council's next financial year. Perhaps it could be run with a smaller team and using more part timers where needed, with volunteers from rugby for game days.  What does a CEO on $250,000 add to the stadium when a manager on $80,000 might be all that is needed? 

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