The New Zealand Law Society | Te Kāhui Ture o Aotearoa Board has announced planned changes to the operational leadership of the Society as it moves into the next phase of its evolution.
Vice President Frazer Barton, who Chairs the Board’s People and Capability Committee, said the Board had been in discussions with its Chief Executive, Helen Morgan-Banda, on the leadership needs of the Society in 2021 and beyond and had mutually agreed a transition process from her to a new CEO.
Mr Barton, who was involved in the recruitment process for Ms Morgan-Banda in early 2019, said there had been a recognition from the outset that her business transformation and change management skills would be needed for a specific period and both parties had agreed that because of that the best option was for the role to be filled on a fixed-term basis.
In particular, the Society had shorter-term needs to develop and execute a strategy to address the need for changes in the regulatory environment and the structure of the profession to meet the emerging and changing demands of lawyers, the users of legal services and society at large.
The Board recognised and was very appreciative of the positive contribution Ms Morgan-Banda had made to the Society to assist the Board to meet those challenges. Her achievements included dealing with complex operational legacy issues, successfully leading the operational team’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, creating a new organisational structure and forming a new leadership team.
She had also worked with the Board to strengthen governance processes, including more thorough reporting and improved financial and risk management, and to instigate an independent review of the statutory framework for lawyers.
With this work complete, including the transition of the Law Society’s National Office to a new, seismically safe, building, both parties have agreed it’s a good time to transition to a new CEO who can work with the Board on the next phase of the Society’s evolution.
Ms Morgan-Banda would continue in the role until 1 April 2021 to allow her to lead the operational team through the next budget process and onboard new executive team members.
In terms of appointing a new CEO, the Board will engage in a robust and commercial recruitment process with the assistance of an external recruitment partner. To that end, they have commenced due diligence work to identify an appropriate firm with the necessary proven record and expertise in the recruitment of high calibre executives.
It is the intention of the Board that a replacement CEO will be appointed prior to Ms Morgan-Banda’s departure and there will be appropriate transitional arrangements in place.