Dr Helen Macdonald takes up CEO reins

A breadth of experience in change management and community engagement will provide a solid background for the new Clare and Gilbert Valleys Council chief executive Dr Helen Macdonald.

CGVC staff were informed this morning that Dr Macdonald – most recently CEO of the Naracoorte Lucindale Council – had been selected to replace previous CEO Roy Blight, who finished in the role in May.

Dr Macdonald brings with her a wealth of experience both domestically and internationally, and is a current board member of the Environmental Protection Authority SA.

“Helen was a standout candidate, having a wide and varied background in government, the private sector and academia,” Mayor Allan Aughey said.

“She comes to council as a high achiever with a particular focus in change management, continuous improvement and community engagement.”

Dr Macdonald has been CEO of Naracoorte Lucindale Council since October 2011.

She has previously worked as environment and social responsibility general manager for Newmont Golden Ridge at a mine in Ghana, where she directed and supervised the implementation of an environmental and social responsibility study program and a land access and resettlement program. 

For five years, she worked as community relations and social development director in Denver, Colorado, for the Newmont Mining Corporation.

She has management, strategic planning and policy experience in sustainable development, environment, community relations and development, land access and resettlement, closure and reclamation, local and regional government relations, and communication and media relations.

“This will be an exciting opportunity for Helen to support the council in providing strong community leadership and in pursuing the aspirations and full potential of the community,” Mr Aughey said.

“While Helen has a PhD in Philosophy (Applied Ethics) and Bachelor of Arts – Honors, she continues with her professional development through a variety of different and challenging mediums.

“Since her time at Naracoorte, Helen has been an active contributor to a number of local and regional groups and associations”.

Dr Macdonald advised Naracoorte Lucindale Council of her resignation earlier this week, which was confirmed by its mayor Erika Vickery in a statement on Wednesday night.

“Dr Macdonald ... is leaving for personal reasons and will finish in this role at the end of January 2018,” Mrs Vickery said.

“Over the past six years she has helped the council become a better managed and strategic organisation.

“Dr Macdonald leaves the council with a number of innovative initiatives for her successor to continue to develop.

“The councillors thank Dr Macdonald for her leadership and service to the Naracoorte Lucindale Council and wish Dr Macdonald every success in her new role at the CGVC.”

John Coombe has been CGVC’s acting CEO while the recruitment process for the CEO role was underway.

Mr Aughey paid tribute to Mr Coombe in a statement earlier today.

“On behalf of council and staff I would like to thank acting CEO John Coombe OAM for his leadership and extensive experience in local government which has been invaluable to council,” Mr Aughey said.

Dr Macdonald is expected to officially commence her duties with CGVC on Monday, February 5, 2018.