After a national search attracting more than 50 quality applicants, the Central Highlands Regional Council has today appointed Sharon Houlihan as its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
Mayor Kerry Hayes said council was seeking a candidate who had the skills and experience to lead and protect the region as it adapts to current and future challenges and opportunities.
‘Sharon was the standout for what we were looking for,’ Mayor Hayes said.
‘She brings a diverse range of professional expertise, spanning local and state government and private sectors within regional Victoria.’
After commencing her career as a building surveyor, Ms Houlihan has spent the past seven years at Wellington Shire Council with her most recent role as General Manager Community and Culture.
‘It’s an exciting time to have a new CEO and Sharon has all of the skills and experience we wanted coupled with a history in rural regions and diverse interests very much like our own,’ Mayor Hayes said.
Ms Houlihan said she was excited to be joining a dedicated team of staff and leaders at Central Highlands Regional Council.
‘I can’t wait to get out with the Mayor, councillors and staff to visit all of the Central Highlands communities, locations and special places to understand what council is currently doing and can do to help communities succeed,’ she said.
Ms Houlihan will relocate from the Latrobe Valley in regional Victoria with her husband Geoff.
She said she was particularly looking forward to becoming a part of local community events, festivals, markets, sports, arts and celebrations after long periods of isolation due to COVID-19 lockdowns in Victoria.
‘That has really highlighted to me the importance of connection and its role in making life worthwhile,’ she said.
A robust recruitment process over the past two and a half months attracted 56 candidates for the CEO position, with Ms Houlihan’s appointment unanimously supported at today’s general council meeting.
‘We will make Sharon’s transition into her new role as smooth as possible with acting CEO Michael Parker on hand to pass the baton,’ Mayor Hayes said.
‘We have been incredibly fortunate to have one of the most experienced former CEOs in Queensland lead our organisation through the period of recruitment and he will provide a great comfort to the incoming candidate.
‘Michael’s great wisdom and knowledge has kept our teams focussed and reassured and provided the best platform for the council to progress into the future.’
Ms Houlihan will commence in the CEO role on 29 November 2021.