New CEO appointed to Council
  • Thursday 10 September 2020

From an original pool of 126 applicants, Sunshine Coast Council has selected highly credentialed and experienced leader Emma Thomas as its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

Announcing her appointment today (Thursday, September 10), Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson said Ms Thomas brings to the role a wealth of experience in managing large public service organisations, delivery of major projects and a well-demonstrated approach to values based leadership which will shape the organisation’s culture, community engagement and service delivery.

“I am delighted council has been able to secure someone of the calibre of Emma Thomas to lead our organisation,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“Ms Thomas has been a partner at PwC since May last year focusing on regional economic development and inclusion and accessibility in communities. 

“Prior to moving back to Queensland, she was Director-General of Transport Canberra and City Services in the Australian Capital Territory - an organisation of nearly 2,000 staff with responsibility for both the public transport network in Canberra and a wide range of municipal services that are ordinarily delivered by councils in Queensland.

“In this role, Ms Thomas also delivered the first stage of Canberra Metro, and led the merger of the two former departments that came together to form Transport Canberra and City Services.

“Previous to her role in Canberra, she held a range of senior leadership roles working for the South Australia and Queensland Governments and Boeing, involving delivery of major projects and operations for aviation, rail and roads.”

Ms Thomas is an aeronautical engineer who commenced her career with the Royal Australian Air Force.

“What particularly impressed council about Ms Thomas is her appreciation of the importance of community and liveability and her approach and experience in building teams and nurturing talent around her - so that people and the organisation grow and evolve together,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“Ms Thomas is widely recognised by her former employers and colleagues as someone who develops a shared sense of purpose amongst the workforce in delivering services for the community. 

“Our council has unanimously supported her appointment today and when Ms Thomas commences with us in November, her early priorities will be focussed on shaping the culture and the governance of the organisation so that our workplace is one in which everyone is valued, respected and contributing and in ensuring our community is engaged in how we are delivering our projects and services.”

Ms Thomas was appointed following a rigorous process involving application assessment, three rounds of interviews, psychometric testing, referee reports and pre-employment screening.

Ms Thomas has been appointed for a term of five years and whilst the terms of her contract of employment are confidential, she will receive a remuneration package (including salary, superannuation contributions and a motor vehicle allowance) with a total value of $485,000.

Mayor Jamieson also took the opportunity to publicly acknowledge and thank Acting CEO Warren Bunker for his outstanding work in leading the organisation since early February this year.

“Our council is enormously grateful for Mr Bunker’s stewardship of the council administration during what has arguably been the most challenging time in the region’s history,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“He has steered the ship through the election period, the induction of the new council, the delivery of a new council budget and of course, guided the council’s approach and response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“To successfully navigate challenges of that scale takes a pretty unique individual and Mr Bunker deserves full credit for his efforts in this regard.

“He will continue to play a major role in the organisation in his role as Group Executive, Liveability and Natural Assets, guiding Council’s implementation of our Environment and Liveability Strategy and our Design Strategy, leadership of the Mass Transit project and overseeing the delivery of our $243 million capital works program.

Mr Bunker will continue as council’s Acting CEO until Ms Thomas commences in the role on 23 November.