August start for new chief

17:00, May 20 2012

The new chief executive of Environment Southland will take the reins in early August, and looks forward to tackling an issue of particular interest to him – intensive land use.

Rob Phillips said he applied for the role in Southland because it was a good opportunity to lead an organisation in a vibrant region with a lot of things going on.

"I have a background in managing the effects of intensive land use so there are some issues there. It is an area I am interested in."

Mr Phillips has spent the past five years at the Taranaki Regional Council where he is the director of operations.

Before that he spent 17 years at Environment Canterbury in a variety of roles, including land resource officer, biosecurity planning, and six years as the portfolio manager of biosecurity and pest management.

Originally from Whanganui, Mr Phillips studied at Lincoln University and said he liked the South Island, so the pull south was strong. "I'm just looking forward to the move south and being part of Southland," he said.

The Environment Southland chief executive role was vacated by Ciaran Keogh in February, and the council's director of corporate services, Graham Alsweiler, has been acting chief executive since Mr Keogh's resignation.

On Thursday council chairman Ali Timms announced Mr Phillip's appointment to the role, saying he brought a wealth of experience to the position.

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