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DOC appoints new CEO

Deputy public service Commissioner Helene Quilter has today announced the appointment of Penny Nelson as director-general of conservation and chief executive, Department of Conservation.

The Department of Conservation is the Government’s lead agency for conserving the natural and historic heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand. It has stewardship of about 8.6 million hectares of land, 44 marine reservices and eight marine mammal sanctuaries. DOC has more than 2000 staff at 100 locations across New Zealand.

"I’m very pleased to appoint Ms Nelson to this role," Helene says.

"Penny has broad experience in the environment, biodiversity and science sectors. She is a respected and proven leader in the Public Service with a track record of delivering against key government priorities. She has considerable experience spearheading partnerships between government, business, iwi, NGOs and communities of interest."

Penny is currently the deputy director-general Biosecurity New Zealand, at the Ministry for Primary Industries, a role she has held since 2019. She has previously held the positions of deputy director-general, policy and trade at MPI and deputy secretary, environmental performance, Innovation and Climate at the Ministry for the Environment. Prior to joining the Ministry for the Environment, Penny was Executive Director of the Sustainable Business Council.

In her role as deputy director-general Biosecurity, Penny is responsible for a significant annual budget and for 1500 staff. She oversees management of biosecurity risk offshore, at the border and within New Zealand. This work includes significant responses to pests and disease.

Helene says Penny has demonstrated she has the skills, knowledge and expertise to lead the Department of Conservation.

Penny has been appointed for five years from November 1, 2021.

Bruce Parkes has been appointed acting chief executive from September 14, after current director-general of conservation Lou Sanson finishes his term on September 13.

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