John Milford announced as Chief Executive of Business Central

John Milford has been appointed Chief Executive of Business Central, incorporating the Wellington Employers' Chamber of Commerce.

Mr Milford is currently Managing Director of department store Kirkcaldie & Stains and has been President of the Wellington Employers' Chamber of Commerce since March last year.

He will replace Raewyn Bleakley who finished in late September to take up the position of Regional Director Central at the New Zealand Transport Agency.

John Milford has extensive experience in the business and retail sector. He has headed Wellington icon "Kirks" since 2006, before which he was General Manager Australia for Repco, General Manager-CEO of Pacific Retail Group, and General Manager of Farmers Trading Company. He chaired the Partnership Wellington Trust for five years, chaired Positively Wellington Tourism, and has been on the board of Wellington Employers' Chamber of Commerce since 2009 and of BusinessNZ since 2013.

His appointment has been welcomed by Business Central President Vaughan Renner.

"We are delighted to have been able to attract someone of John's calibre to this important role in leading both our organisations for the benefit of the central region's business community.

"His knowledge and experience of business in general and of the retail sector in particular will be of huge benefit to our member businesses as he drives the organisations forward on their behalf.

"We have already seen this in the work he has done as Chamber President, representing the views of business, and no doubt he will also carry that through to the wider role of Business Central.

"John will be an asset in continuing our good work in Wellington, as well as building the organisation to strengthen branches in the regional centres and improve the engagement with members.

"His close knowledge of the organisations will mean that he will be off to a flying start."

Mr Milford said he was looking forward to the challenges ahead and to the wider role of the position.

"Our members have plenty of ideas about how the city and region should progress but top of mind is that ratepayers' money is spent wisely on projects that make a difference.

"I'm a big fan of transparency. Business appreciates that it has to contribute, but it also wants to know that its money is spent on projects that will take the region forward, strengthen economic growth and attract new business.

"Looking at Wellington, business contributes nearly half of the rates take so we expect to have some influence on how it's spent.

"The region has huge potential – as well as some challenges – and I look forward to working with the team at Business Central as we make a difference and drive the debate for change throughout the central region.

"As a result of my term as President of Wellington Employers' Chamber of Commerce I believe my ongoing relationship with members will stand me in good stead. As a retailer I understand the need to deliver what the customer wants, and I will apply that to ensure businesses in the Business Central region, including Wellington, benefit from membership.

"I have lived in Wellington for nine years and have grown to love it. I look forward to working alongside passionate people who want to see the region succeed."

Business Central council member Trevor Goodwin will continue as Executive Director of the organisation until John Milford takes up the position of Chief Executive in March.