Government Department and CEO of the Year


Departing Ministry of Social Development boss Peter Hughes has been named top Government Department CEO of the year by a panel of 22 high profile opinion shapers.* The accolade comes in Trans Tasman’s  2011 New Zealand Government Department’s Briefing Report released this week.

 Hughes, who has just been named as the new head of Victoria University’s School of Government, also picked up the top honour in the inaugural report last year. The panelists were again impressed with the work Hughes has done as head of the ministry and comment he will be sorely missed. …

One of his characteristics is like his political masters he hates bad news and surprises, and does everything possible in planning and management to avoid them. It’s this sort of attention to detail while keeping an eye on the big picture which has led Hughes to win the top CEO accolade.

 Alistair Morrison of the Department Of Conservation gets the second highest score, a result which surprised even the panelists, who worked independently of each other and who didn’t know the result until this week. Morrison came nowhere in last year’s rankings, but it is a measure of his abilities that he was able to make such an impression this year.

 This is perhaps a reflection Morrison’s attempts to find a meaningful role for the department, whittling out costs and better engagement with those outside the department has not always been matched with equal relish from within.

 In the scoring Hughes was well ahead of Morrison, with Maarten Wevers of the Department Of Prime Minister And Cabinet in third place, followed by John Whitehead of Treasury and Wayne McNee of The Ministry Of Agriculture And Forestry.

 There were 37 agencies rated, so just being in the top five is pretty good for a CEO.

The panelists voted The Ministry Of Social Development as the Government Department of The Year. The Treasury, which last year took the top accolade, came in second, with the Department Of Prime Minister And Cabinet third. The Inland Revenue Department was voted fourth best. …

All four top ranking departments will be getting new leadership over the next 12 months. The new CEOs will start with good platforms to work from, but are likely to face more pressure on budgets and policy work than their predecessors ever did.

That’s interesting that all four top agencies will have new CEOs over the next year. Will make next year’s results interesting to compare.

NB – I was one of the 22 panelists.

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