Thursday, April 25, 2024

Ipswich council appoints first female CEO

Ipswich City Council General Manager, Sonia Cooper (pictured) will take on the role of Acting Chief Executive Officer for the next four to six months.

Ms Cooper, who is the current General Manager of council’s Corporate Services Department, was appointed to the interim role at a full council meeting by a Mayoral Motion.

The incumbent CEO, David Farmer resigned earlier this month, after two years in the role, to accept the position of CEO at Central Coast Council in NSW.

Ms Cooper said she was looking forward to the opportunity.

“I am humbled to be given the responsibility to act as the CEO. I look forward to working with Mayor Teresa Harding, councillors and council staff as we continue to serve our residents and ratepayers and support the tremendous growth of our city now and in the future,” she said.

“Ipswich has such a bright future and council is working hard for its residents to ensure we can cope with the challenges ahead: significant population growth, support for our diverse community, new jobs, new construction and investment across the region.

“Along with colleagues I express gratitude to CEO David Farmer, who leaves next month after more than two years in the role. He has taught us much, steered us through a time of significant change and helped prepare us for the move into the new council administration building in the Nicholas Street Precinct later this year.”

Councillors voted unanimously to appoint Ms Cooper to the acting role.

Ms Cooper is the first council-appointed female CEO and joins Mayor Harding – the first female Mayor of Ipswich in 161 years – and Deputy Mayor Marnie Doyle in leading the city.

She was appointed to the role as General Manager at council in January 2020, and was previously Deputy Commissioner with the Public Service Commission within the Queensland Government, a position she held since April 2013.

“Our council looks forward to collaborating with Ms Cooper as she and guides our organisation through this period of transition,” Mayor Harding said.

“Ms Cooper brings her extensive experience in public service leadership and a strong focus on culture and employee well-being to council’s continued transformation, which will be pertinent as we prepare to transition the majority of our workforce to 1 Nicholas Street.

“Ms Cooper has demonstrated exceptional leadership in her role as General Manager and of particular note, she spearheaded the establishment of the Transparency and Integrity Hub, a first for local governments across Australia.”

Through another Mayoral Motion, council endorsed the establishment of a CEO recruitment selection panel and commencement of the recruitment process.

Mayor Harding will be joined on the panel by Deputy Mayor Marnie Doyle and councillors Andrew Fechner and Jacob Madsen, plus an independent member appointed by the panel.

The full council will ultimately decide the new CEO.

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