Netball South keen on filling CEO position fast

BRENDON EGAN
Last updated 05:00 29/11/2012

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Netball South has begun re-advertising its chief executive's position and hopes to have someone in place before Christmas.

Southern Steel boss David Bannister was offered the top job at the new Netball South entity - which is a merger of Netball Southland and Netball Otago - but turned it down to move back to Australia to be closer to his family.

The chief executive role is being advertised on employment website Seek, and applications close on December 9.

Netball South chairman Paul Buckner said the organisation had been approached by several interested people and he was optimistic an appointment could be made before Christmas. It will begin interviewing candidates on December 14.

"Initially we thought, not to rush it and to deal with it in the new year, but that would cause complications with getting close to the start of the season," he said.

"We want to embed someone as soon as possible."

The chief executive will be responsible for implementing the new structure and developing netball from the grassroots through to the elite level within the southern zone. Buckner said the organisation wanted someone with proven management and accountancy skills who could also maintain positive working relationships with a diverse range of key stakeholders.

"We're bringing together three books effectively. It's a bigger book to manage. We need somebody who has the ability to keep a tight rein on the position.

"The strongest one is networking. Being able to work with the community and keep our sponsors, supporters, funders, the general community and volunteers happy." The new chief executive will be based in Netball South's Invercargill headquarters, but Buckner said they would spend time in Otago and other parts of the region.

For Netball South to be a success, Buckner admitted it was paramount for the organisation to have a strong commercial base in Southland and Otago, and that both regions bought into the region's flagship team, the Steel.

"It's not our agenda to move our headquarters away from Invercargill at all. That's not in the conceivable future.

"We need the Steel to endear itself to regions outside Invercargill. That said, we're terribly appreciative and thankful to the Invercargill community for bringing Steel to where it is today."

The Netball South board comprises Buckner, a Dunedin lawyer, at the helm, along with appointed members Alastair McKenzie of Invercargill, and Sue Clarke of Dunedin, together with elected members Kate Leebody of Gore, Adrienne Ensor of Dunedin and Kerry Seymour of South Otago.

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Netball Southland stalwart Debbie Hodges has been appointed as the Netball New Zealand delegate.

Buckner was excited at the calibre of people on the board and said they all brought different areas of expertise to the table.

"We've got some fantastic skills there. In the meetings we've had to date, it just oozes with talent.

"I'm looking forward to the opportunity for them to be more dynamic and look at growing our zone."

The first priorities for the board will be to decide on a chief executive, before working out staffing and budgets.

The next step will include coaching and development.

The Steel has moved away from buying in out-of-town players and is instead focusing on nurturing the talent within the region, which will be a priority.

Buckner said the goal was to provide clear pathways for promising young players in the southern area, who could one day go on to play for the Steel.

"We're certainly looking at strengthening pathways so that every young girl on the netball court is aware of the Steel presence and has something to aspire to.

"We think that is something we want to encourage further."

Due to the transition process from the regional to zone structure, Buckner said the financial year, which was due to end tomorrow, would be extended.

Netball Southland and Southern TeamCo posted a consolidated deficit of $230,751 for the 2011 financial year, but last week Bannister told The Southland Times he expected the organisation would return a small profit for 2012.

- Southland

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