City of Darwin has named its new Chief Executive Officer.
Lord Mayor Kon Vatskalis said Simone Saunders was the successful applicant from a field of 51 candidates from around Australia for the job.
Ms Saunders has been interim CEO since March and becomes the first female to lead the organisation.
Mr Vatskalis said Ms Saunders’ strong background in commercial and corporate business, as well as her knowledge of local government, meant she was ideally suited for the position.
“Simone understands local government and she has the leadership experience and the local knowledge to make an outstanding contribution as our next CEO,” Mr Vatskalis said.
“In her five months as interim CEO, Simone has shown she is an executive with well-developed leadership skills, excellent judgment and strength of character.
“She has also shown she can work closely with the elected members to deliver their vision, which is vital in this role.”
Ms Saunders became City of Darwin’s Chief Financial Officer in 2020. Before that she served in various senior roles with Darwin-based airline Airnorth, including four years as CEO.
As an active executive director of the Airnorth board from 2007, she participated in all facets of the strategic direction, oversight and governance of the organisation and its departments.
Ms Saunders said she has lived in Darwin for 18 years, and she and her husband have enjoyed raising their two young children here in recent years.
“I came here in the Dry Season of 2004 planning to head to Perth,” she said.
“I took a casual job, which was only supposed to last for a month, and I’m still here.
“I’m really looking forward to ensuring Council and its 370 staff operates as a progressive community-focussed organisation which delivers for the people of Darwin.
"This role provides a unique opportunity to help shape the future of the city and drive transformational change in the delivery of Council services.
“I’m excited about leading City of Darwin as we deliver key infrastructure projects and high-quality services for Darwin residents.”