Business leadership organisation Accelerate Cape Town (ACT) has announced the resignation of its CEO, Chris Whelan, after three years at the helm. Whelan will leave the organisation at the end of July 2015, soon after the conclusion of the eighth Annual General Meeting. A recruitment process for a successor to Whelan has commenced.
Whelan – a South African who has worked abroad before – assumed the role of ACT CEO in 2012 after having concluded a long term contract in Australia.
He says, “Because this decision involves another relocation – this time to New Zealand – it was one of the most difficult of my career. I could, however, not pass up a unique opportunity to lead the newly formed Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency as its first chief executive. I leave ACT at a time when the role of business in helping to accelerate inclusive, sustainable economic growth could not be more important to South Africa’s future. It is heartening to know that the vision set in place with the board in recent years will endure.”
Gavin Tipper, chairperson of Accelerate Cape Town, said, “We respect Chris’s decision to take on a challenge he is so ideally suited to. During his time at ACT he drew on his business experience and skill as a futurist to navigate its transition from think tank to business leadership organisation. In doing so, he has ensured its relevance to our expanding member base long into the future. Chris leaves us having put a firm foundation for ACT’s success in place, and we wish him and his family everything of the best for the future.”
The Wellington Economic Development Agency (WREDA) Chair, Peter Biggs, says the Board was delighted to find a person who combines an economic development and growth focus with strong leadership skills.
“Chris is an economic development expert and just the person to help realise the enormous potential and confidence we all have in Wellington City and the region.
“He also has the management experience to lead the transition that will combine the five existing business units into the recently formed Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency.”
Before his current role, Whelan was based in Sydney where he headed research and analysis for the Asia Pacific region of consulting firm Ernst and Young.
“My current role as head of Cape Town’s business think-tank is all about regional economic growth and there are many parallels with the Wellington region. I’m excited by this opportunity and look forward to meeting the WREDA team next month when I’ll be visiting Wellington.”
“We’re lucky to get someone with Chris’ mix of skills and experience to lead WREDA, and we look forward to welcoming him to his new home and role,” says Biggs.