The $200 million plus Community Trust of Southland (CTOS) has named Denis Woods as interim head following the sudden departure of long-time incumbent, John Prendergast, earlier this month.
In a statement issued last week, CTOS says Woods, a chartered accountant, would fill the role while the organisation recruited a permanent general manager.
As reported previously, Prendergast quit the role he had held for almost 20 years early in June with CTOS chair, Margot Hishon, remaining tight-lipped on the circumstances.
The Southland Times reported last week that Prendergast had been involved in a legal dispute with CTOS prior to his resignation.
“I am disappointed to be leaving the trust, but these things happen,” he told the Southland Times. “I am not the first person that this has happened to and I am not the last one.”
It is understood Prendergast and the CTOS board had been at odds for months for reasons yet to be clarified.
“For the most part it hasn’t felt like work at all, it really has been a privilege and I have loved every moment of it,” he said in a release. “I feel I am leaving an organisation that is innovative and transparent in the ways it looks to support the community.”
Like all community trusts, the CTOS board is regularly refreshed with almost half of its trustees relatively new appointees.
Including Hishon, the CTOS board numbers 10 trustees, four of whom have been appointed within the last two years. Most recently, Queenstown-based financial adviser, Warren Skerrett, joined the CTOS board in June 2016 with Hishon (elected as chair in November last year), Mata Cherrington, and Invercargill financial planner, Stephen O’Connor, appointed the previous June.
Hishon said in a statement that the CTOS management change would “mean a significant amount of Trust history and knowledge would leave with Mr Prendergast when he finished on 9 June”.