Stuart Brown and Jo Birnie join DWC.

Development West Coast (DWC) is pleased to announce the appointment of Stuart Brown as its new chief financial officer (CFO) and Jo Birnie as economic development manager.

“Jo and Stuart will be key members of our executive team as we navigate the current economic crisis and help lead the region through the COVID-19 recovery,” says DWC chief executive Heath Milne.

Stuart Brown has been appointed CFO, replacing Brent Ford who has been interim CFO since Mark Dawson left in January.

Mr Brown brings over two decades of finance experience to DWC.

Born and educated in the South Island, he worked in Matamata for 12 years in finance. He then travelled to the UK and worked in Canada and USA for eight years. Most recently, he was based in Australia where he led the finance teams for large international ASX listed mining companies.

Mr Brown is pleased to be returning home after a lengthy period away and brings a commercial focus to the role of CFO for DWC. He will be ensuring that compliance is maintained while allowing for an agile approach to business support.

“I’m looking forward to working with the wide range of businesses on the Coast and supporting the finance strategies that will help them thrive,” he says.

Jo Birnie also joins DWC, where she takes on the new role of economic development manager.

Born and educated in the UK, Ms Birnie started her career as a consultant. She moved to New Zealand in 2002, where she worked as a specialised HR practitioner with her time split between the South Island and Wellington, working in both the public and private sector, including HR Manager for Safe Air (Air NZ). 

In 2009 she started her own business and HR consultancy where she has undertaken project/programme and change management positions across many agencies in the public sector and has worked with a wide range of SMEs, including many businesses on the West Coast as part of the Regional Business Partner Network. 

Ms Birnie brings with her a wealth of knowledge of programme and change management, of implementing change and taking people on the journey. Her experience of navigating the machinery of government whilst recognising the regional level and the interdependencies of decisions will be invaluable for DWC going forward.

“The West Coast faces significant challenges ahead due to the impact of COVID-19,” says Mr Milne.

“I am confident that Stuart and Jo have the experience and expertise we need to ensure DWC continues its positive momentum.

“The skillsets they bring will enable us to better support our business community during this challenging time, as well as to leverage any opportunities the landscape ahead may present.”

Jo and Stuart