Auckland Council CFO resigns for mystery private sector role

Auckland Council has announced the resignation of chief financial officer Sue Tindal, less than three years after her appointment and in the midst of the 2018-28 Long Term Plan process.

In an internal statement to staff, council chief executive Stephen Town said Ms Tindal's departure is due to her accepting a private sector role she will take up in early 2018.

No further information is available, although last December Ms Tindal joined the board of transport and logistics group Mainfreight as a non-executive director.

She has previously held senior executive roles at Westpac Banking Corp and Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

When Ms Tindal joined the council, the organisation had assets of almost $40 billion, annual revenue of $3.3 billion and (as at June 30, 2014) debt of $6.3 billion.

In its latest annual report, the council was recorded as having net debt of $7.969 billion (after cash on hand), net assets of $35.8 billion and annual revenue of $4.129 billion.

Just last month, Auckland Council’s credit ratings were reaffirmed by international agencies Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s Investor Service as, respectively, AA and Aa2 on a stable outlook.

At the time, Ms Tindal said the ratings reaffirmation “represents the council’s ongoing commitment to meet its financial obligations and prudently manage its financial position through a period of unprecedented growth for the city and demand on infrastructure.”

In his memo to staff today, Mr Town emphasised Ms Tindal’s “significant contribution in a number of key areas,” including the reaffirmation and just finished second benchmark euro bond issue, and:

• completing the 2015-25 Long Term Plan and two subsequent annual plans;

• leading and supporting the completion of NewCore;

• renegotiating the council’s arrangements with SAP, resulting in $33 million of savings over the life of the current Long Term Plan; and

• establishing a savings and efficiency programme that has now been expanded to include “value for money reviews.”

Not surprisingly, the valedictory was silent on such less-than-positive subjects as the recent criticism of the council’s burgeoning $45.6 million annual bill for its communications and engagement departments.

Ms Tindal finishes at the council on November 17 “and she will resign from her current role during the summer holiday period,” Mr Town’s memo said.

Matthew Walker, general manager, financial strategy and planning, will take up the role of acting group chief financial officer from November 20.

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