Sunshine Coast Council's new CEO Emma Thomas.
Sunshine Coast Council's new CEO Emma Thomas.

What we know: Council appoints new leader

Emma Thomas has been confirmed as Sunshine Coast Council's CEO for the next five years, with her contract beginning on November 23.

Ms Thomas was appointed following a rigorous process involving application assessment, three rounds of interviews, psychometric testing, referee reports and pre-employment screening.

Ms Thomas was one of 126 candidates to apply for the position, which mayor Mark Jamieson said attracted national and international interest.

Sunshine Coast Council reveals its new CEO

On her LinkedIn Ms Thomas describes herself as "passionate about helping to create transport systems and infrastructure that improve the liveability of our cities".

She is a non-executive director at Aviation Australia and a partner in PwC's infrastructure and urban renewal team.

She previously worked for the Australian Capital Territory Government for five years, where she was the director general of Transport Canberra and City Centres for two years.

Ms Thomas helped deliver light rail in Canberra, which she described to the Australian Financial Review as the "pinnacle of my endeavours" so far.

"The ability to lead that change and transformation was an amazing experience," Ms Thomas said.

Previously to that she worked at Department of Transport and Main Roads for two years, as chief operations officer and deputy director general operations.

Between 1991 to 1999 Ms Thomas was an engineer at the Royal Australian Air Force. Following that, she worked at Boeing for 10 years in various roles including vice president international alliances Europe.

Sunshine Coast Regional Council Mayor Mark Jamieson is expected to reveal council’s new CEO.
Sunshine Coast Regional Council Mayor Mark Jamieson is expected to reveal council’s new CEO.

Cr Jamieson this morning signed Ms Thomas' five-year contract, after councillors voted unanimously in support of appointing the new CEO.

He said she was highly credentialed and an experienced leader.

"What particularly impressed council about Ms Thomas is her appreciation of the importance of community and liveability and her approach and experience in building teams and nurturing talent around her - so that people and the organisation grow and evolve together," Cr Jamieson said.

"Ms Thomas is widely recognised by her former employers and colleagues as someone who develops a shared sense of purpose among the workforce in delivering services for the community.

"Our council has unanimously supported her appointment today and when Ms Thomas commences with us in November, her early priorities will be focused on shaping the culture and the governance of the organisation so that our workplace is one in which everyone is valued, respected and contributing and in ensuring our community is engaged in how we are delivering our projects and services."

Chief of staff Craig Matherson presented the report to appoint the new CEO to councillors at a special meeting held at Caloundra this morning.

"There were a high number of candidates (which recruitment agency) Dean and Ling said was indicative of the interest in the work of this council and the way it has positioned itself as an organisation … and the diversity and scale of the region itself," he said.

Warren Bunker will continue to be the council's acting CEO until Ms Thomas' contract begins on November 23.

Ms Thomas replaces Michael Whittaker, who resigned in February due to ill health.


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