The City of Cockburn continues to evolve, with its growing role as the capital of the southern metropolitan area gaining traction.
This includes endorsement of a progressive plan for the continued robust leadership of its community through a 6 to 12-month recruitment program for a new CEO.
Cockburn Council recently endorsed interim arrangements for the replacement of outgoing CEO Tony Brun who has accepted the role of CEO at Melbourne Avalon Airport in Victoria, effective from October.
In a first for the City of Cockburn, two women will step up to take on the Acting CEO role, along with the City’s Chief of Operations, on a recurring two-monthly rotational basis, in another inaugural milestone for the community-focused local government.
Current City Executives Victoria Green, Executive Corporate Affairs, and Emma Milne, Executive Governance and Strategy, are the first women in the City’s history to be appointed to head up a CEO role at Cockburn in either a permanent or acting role.
They will be joined by Chief of Operations, Anton Lees, who has been at Cockburn since November 2011.
Ms Green will be the first to take on this interim role and will begin as Acting CEO from 1 September.
A CEO Selection Committee comprising Elected Members, an independent member and a Human Relations consultant will embark on recruitment for a permanent replacement, which could take 6-12 months in the current labour market.
Mr Brun, an advocate of fostering greater diversity in Cockburn’s executive and leadership teams since starting at the City in December 2020, said he was confident the combined experience of the Acting CEO team would ensure the City continued its exemplary service and commitment to its residents.
“The City is in a solid position to successfully achieve positive outcomes for the community throughout FY23 and I and the Council have every confidence in this team’s ongoing fulfilment of that,” Mr Brun said.
“Council has set a clear direction for the coming year, having adopted a fiscally responsible budget, and a number of important strategic documents including the Corporate Business Plan, Service Level Plans, Projects Plans, Workforce Plan and Organisational Purpose, Objectives and KPIs.”
On diversity, Mr Brun said the City’s Executive team was in better shape than it had ever been, echoing the gender diversity of Cockburn’s Elected Member team, where women had long been equally represented, and the community which it serves.
Mayor Logan Howlett said the structural transformation led by Mr Brun at Cockburn over the past year was an important achievement that had set a new benchmark for transparency and forward planning in local government in Western Australia.
“The structural review has resulted in significant new talent joining the City and the Executive, and I have every confidence our Acting CEO team has the experience, skill and tenacity to continue the good work it has been instrumental in achieving as part of the City’s growth,” Mayor Howlett said.
“Cockburn is in great shape and when they do arrive, the new CEO will have a smooth introduction to the role thanks to a proficient team that is committed to ensuring our City is the best place to be, with an abundance of opportunities for residents, visitors and business operators alike.”
Ms Green said it was an exciting time to live, work and invest in Cockburn, and a privilege to be the first female to lead the organisation in its more than 150-year history.
“Under the leadership of Mr Brun, the City has transformed significantly, continuing its evolution into a progressive organisation that embraces flexible working, diversity and innovation, and contemporary business planning practices,” Ms Green said.
“As Acting CEOs, Ms Milne, Mr Lees and I will continue to progress this transformation while focusing on the City’s core business, delivering our commitments to the community and supporting our service delivery teams to ensure we continue to be the best place to be.”
Ms Green began working at the City in August 2021. She has significant experience delivering transformations in the private sector including Bankwest, RAC and Heathrow Airport and during her time in consultancy.
She also brings public sector experience to the new role having worked for the Ministry of Justice in the UK.
Following completion of a Bachelor of Commerce at Murdoch University, Ms Green lived and worked in the UK for almost a decade before returning to her West Australian roots in 2015.
Ms Milne arrived at the City in October 2021. She worked in the UK for more than seven years at investment bank HSBC progressing through the ranks from Business Operations Manager to Chief of Staff, to Head of Governance and Standards, working with a regional team of 260 employees and divisional running costs of over a billion dollars.
Prior to joining Cockburn, Ms Milne was Director Corporate Services at the Corruption and Crime Commission with a department of 30 staff and a budget of $11m. She has lived and studied in regional and metro WA.
Mr Lees’ current role oversees the City’s Operations Division to deliver a range of multimillion dollar City amenities. He leads a dedicated team of 200 employees across three portfolios; Operations and Maintenance, Projects and Property and Assets.
Prior to the City’s transformative organisational restructure, Mr Lees was Manager Parks & Environment and prior to that he held various senior management roles in local government and the private sector.
Mr Lees completed a Master Business Administration (MBA) in 2017 along with qualifications of Advanced Diploma Management, Associate Diploma Accounting, and a Certificate of Horticulture.