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Mackenzie Mayor Graham Smith said the council would "have a very smooth transition" after outgoing chief executive Wayne Barnett ended his five-year tenure on November 10.
"There will be some changes to come with staff as Suzette stamps her management style on our staff, there may be some changes in staff culture as such, but I will say that as a council we were unanimous in the selection of Suzette," Mr Smith said.
A Christchurch-based recruitment agency compiled a list of 22 applicants for the position, which councillors "whittled down" to a four-person shortlist, he said.
Ms van Aswegen had "extensive management and technical experience" in Australia before joining the council as planning manager.
"She fits the skill type that we as a council are seeking to further development in Mackenzie."
Mr Barnett "leaves quite a legacy within the Mackenzie", including the development of Tekapo and the rebuild of Fairlie’s historic library.
Ms van Aswegen said she was "very excited about this opportunity to serve the Mackenzie community and to help make a difference".
The Mackenzie district was doing well to manage the area’s "high growth" and her goals as chief executive would be "set collaboratively" with councillors.