Following the still-mysterious departure last June of long-standing chief executive, John Prendergast, his permanent replacement has landed at the approximately $220 million Community Trust of Southland (CTOS).
According to a CTOS spokesperson, Jackie Flutey, formally took over the reins last week from interim manager, Denis Woods.
Flutey previously managed the Invercargill-based ILT Foundation, which distributes charitable funds derived from gaming machines in the region. In the 2016/17 financial year ILT awarded grants of about $5 million on gambling revenue of $9.5 million. ILT, unlike CTOS, does not hold long-term investments but distributes out of annual cash-flow.
Woods assumed the interim role last year when the two-decade CTOS veteran Prendergast resigned under pressure from the board or trustees.
Last September the Southland Times revealed a long-running dispute between Prendergast and current CTOS trustee, Penny Simmonds, dating back to her-then role as Hockey Southland chair over 2008-10.
Prendergast was reportedly involved in legal action with CTOS prior to his negotiated exit last June. In July 2017 a delegation of “prominent Southlanders” lobbied the-then National government to review Prendergast’s exit, the Southland Times reported. A group of Prendergast supporters have since met with the new Labour Finance Minister, Grant Robertson, to discuss the matter.
After leaving CTOS last year Prendergast stood as a candidate to replace the disgraced National MP for Clutha-Southland, Todd Barclay. The ultimately-failed effort saw Prendergast clash with Clutha-Southland National Party electorate chair, Margaret Hishon, who doubles as CTOS chair.
In July CTOS appointed John Wyeth as trustee, replacing the outgoing Stephen Bragg, while confirming Trish Boyle and Lindsay Wright for further four-year terms.
However, the CTOS board could be due for a refresh this May with expressions of interest for trustee positions released last November, the spokesperson said, with any changes likely to take place in May.
Community trust board appointments tend to follow a highly-politicised process as the Minister of Finance must approve trustees. Given the recent change of government, the sector is likely to experience a flush-out of previous National-aligned trustees as mandatory four-year terms end with potential downstream effects on both investment advisory and portfolio choices among the 12 community trusts.
In a CTOS release last week, Flutey said she was keen to learn more about “the challenges and opportunities facing the diverse Southland community”.
“Having worked closely with CTOS previously, on jointly funded projects, I had a great respect for the work done by the staff and trustees of CTOS, so I was keen to join the wonderful CTOS team,” she said in the statement.
Prendergast, meanwhile, was considering a role on the Invercargill City Council, the Southland Times reported last year, with the chief executive role still up for grabs.
CTOS appointed Aon as investment adviser in 2016 replacing long-standing incumbent, the Michael Chamberlain-headed MCA.