New HB chamber chief quits after staff mutiny

Last updated 05:00 02/11/2012

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The Hawke's Bay Chamber of Commerce is in disarray after its staff turned against their new chief executive, who has agreed to depart after just a month in the role.

The Dominion Post understands that staff confronted chamber president Katja Williams last month with an ultimatum that they would leave unless chief executive Gavin Bush was made to walk.

Mr Bush had been in the role only since late September.

After discussions between both parties it was agreed that Mr Bush would go, and an announcement would be made that he had left for personal reasons.

Mr Bush declined to comment yesterday, but it is understood he was unimpressed with the performance of some staff members and was relieved to be out of the organisation.

However, when contacted by The Dominion Post, Ms Williams said Mr Bush was "attending to an urgent family matter".

She said staff had raised concerns, but that was "possibly due to the fact that he was stressed due to a family situation".

"He is in communication. He is a CEO dealing with a situation privately."

She denied there had been an ultimatum but said: "We have had some staff meetings to attend to the fact that the CEO needs support, yes, which is what you would normally do if a CEO has an urgent matter to attend to.

"He's got a family situation he's got to deal with."

Asked if Mr Bush would be resigning, Ms Williams said: "It is business as usual. It's normal procedure. There is nothing strange here."

Mr Bush was appointed chief executive of the chamber and of Business Hawke's Bay in late September. He has spent 23 years in senior management in the environment services industry and started Waste Management NZ's operations in Hawke's Bay. For the past two years he had run his own environmental consultancy firms.

On his appointment, Ms Williams said she was delighted and "I'm sure he will continue to grow the chamber and add benefits to the work of Business Hawke's Bay". Mr Bush replaced Murray Douglas, who resigned after nearly five years in the role.

Contact Marty Sharpe
Hawke's Bay reporter

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- The Dominion Post


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