An important announcement made today by Mayor Len Brown – that Lester Levy will be taking over as Chair of Auckland Transport from Mark Ford, from November onwards:
The Mayor has named Lester Levy as the new chair of council controlled organisation, Auckland Transport (AT).
Dr Levy comes to the role after extensive management and governance experience in large and medium-sized public and private organisations.
Present roles include Chair of the Auckland and Waitemata District Health Boards, Adjunct Professor of Leadership at the University of Auckland Business School as well as being a director of Tonkin & Taylor.
Previous roles include Chief Executive of South Auckland Health, the New Zealand Blood Service and MercyAscot Private Hospital Group (where he was a founder) and previous governance experience as chairing private healthcare, film and television production and biotechnology enterprises.
Dr Levy, who is 57, was born in South Africa and has lived in New Zealand since 1978. He is married with three children and lives in Mission Bay.
“I have a very strong commitment to Auckland and New Zealand and am very ambitious for both,” says Dr Levy. ”I believe all organisations have unrealised potential for greater performance and look forward to working with the board, management and all staff at Auckland Transport to serve our community in the best way possible.”
Lester Levy replaces Mark Ford who has been Chair of Auckland Transport since the creation of Auckland Council.
“It is a privilege to hold the role of Chair of Auckland Transport during a time of great change in the city,” says Mr Ford.
“Highlights include the efficiencies of integrating the majority of transport activities under a single organisation; signing the contract for the delivery of a fleet of modern electric trains for Auckland; starting work on a comprehensive integrated transport solution for the eastern suburbs through the AMETI project; and presiding over the highest growth in public transport use for over half a century.”
Dr Levy will engage with Auckland Transport from late August, working alongside Mark Ford, to ensure an effective transition until Mr Ford’s term finishes at the end of October. Dr Levy will become the Chair effective from 1 November 2012.
Mayor Len Brown has paid tribute to the leadership shown by Mr Ford as chair and says he is looking forward to working with Dr Levy.
“Mark Ford has played a superb role in leading the transition that has taken place at Auckland Transport. Lester Levy is highly regarded in local and central government and business. He was a game changer at South Auckland Health, where I first became really aware of his work. I look forward to the contribution he will make at Auckland Transport.”
Dr Levy certainly sounds like he’s pretty competent and has an extensive background working in challenging public sector governance roles – of which this is certainly one. While Mark Ford tends to polarise opinions, I think we need to give him credit for getting Auckland Transport through this initial phase and also with regard to specific wins – like getting 57 EMU trains rather than the original 35 which must surely stand out as a particular highlight.