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City Care chief executive Onno Mulder will start his new role at the end of May, following the resignation of Penny Simmonds, who was elected Invercargill MP at last year’s election.
Mr Mulder had been at City Care, one of New Zealand’s largest infrastructure companies, for 15 years.
While chief executive, he grew the company into a nationwide infrastructure and construction operation with a $300million annual turnover and 1500 staff.
Mr Mulder has more than 30 years’ general management, executive level and governance experience in the infrastructure and construction sector.
"I’ve always had a strong belief in the importance of education and I believe that through education we can support students to learn new skills that will help them to make their mark on the community," he said.
"That’s why I’m excited about taking a career change into education."
Mr Mulder said SIT had a strong record of innovation in education, and he had an opportunity to play a role in its development.
"I’m looking forward to working with all stakeholders as we continue growing the Southland economy."
SIT board chairwoman Alison Broad was delighted with the announcement.
"Onno brings strong skills in leadership, strategy development and implementation, stakeholder engagement and business development.
"His experience in the construction and infrastructure sector, and as an industry client of the vocational training sector, will bring fresh perspectives and opportunities to SIT’s work."
Acting chief executive Maree Howden did not apply for the position.
She will return to her permanent role as deputy chief executive and Faculty of Health, Humanities and Computing head.