MEDIA RELEASE - Pioneering leader set to depart Council after 31 years of service

Sutherland Shire Council is set to mark the end of an era in coming months, with the organisation’s first female CEO set to step down after more than five years of dedicated service leading the organisation.

Outgoing CEO Manjeet Grewal announced this week she was retiring after an amazing 31 years of service to the people of the Sutherland Shire, across a broad range of roles within the organisation.

Ms Grewal’s long career has included extensive leadership roles including Engineering Operations, Waste Services, Civil and Parks Operations, Fleet and Workshops, Leisure Centres, Regulatory Services, Building Works, and as the Director of Shire Services for three years. She has been a pioneer for women in leadership at Sutherland Shire Council, as its first female Engineering Manager in 1996 and appointed as the first female CEO in April 2019.

Ms Grewal said her time leading the organisation has been immensely rewarding, however she was looking forward to spending time with her family and friends, both here and overseas.

“It has been an incredible privilege to lead an organisation whose purpose is to serve and strengthen local communities,” says Ms Grewal. “There is no perfect time to retire, but I know I leave the organisation in a strong position and the time is right for me to embrace another change and have the luxury of time to spend with my family and reconnect with friends.”

“I am incredibly grateful to have worked with an extraordinary group of talented and dedicated professionals over my career, who have all been unfailingly committed to achieving great things for local residents,” Ms Grewal said.

“I’m incredibly proud of all that we have achieved together during my time working at Sutherland Shire Council, and I must recognise Mr Elson Sang, at the time Deputy Shire Engineer and Mr David Abbott, Shire Engineer, for first welcoming me to Sutherland Shire Council in 1993, and the two preceding General Managers I have worked with, Mr John Rayner and Mr Scott Phillips, as well as the steadfast leadership of the Mayor, Councillor Carmelo Pesce.

“There have been many notable projects and achievements, including Parc Menai, Cooper Street Reserve, and the $42 million Pavilion Performing Arts Centre. There is something very special about creating places that bring community together and I feel privileged to have been a part of that.

“I am also immensely grateful for the way Council and our community have pulled together in response to adversity, from the challenges of responding to events like the Kurnell tornado, bushfires and floods bearing down on our community, and of course the incredible upheaval that we navigated through together during the depths of the COVID pandemic,” she said.

“Thirty-one years is a long time to have been enmeshed within an organisation, and I have enjoyed the diverse range of challenges and opportunities in the many roles I have held and am immensely grateful to the many leaders who have provided me with opportunities. It’s been a privilege to be part of the organisation’s evolution to meet our community’s changing needs.

“While I am looking forward to the opportunity to explore life after Council, grateful for a wonderful career in local government, I’m excited for Council and the community as it embarks of a number of major initiatives, including the renewal of Cronulla Plaza, improvements to Menai Sports Centre, a new library and community hub at Kirrawee, delivery of playfields at Greenhills and seeing the many adopted master plans come to fruition over time.”

Sutherland Shire Mayor, Councillor Carmelo Pesce expressed his sincere thanks for the service Ms Grewal has provided to the Sutherland Shire community, saying she had always been a steadying influence throughout his time serving as an elected Councillor.

“I have been fortunate to work with some extraordinary leaders during my time on Council, and Manjeet stands out among them as someone who has served our community with distinction, showing incredible leadership in her unfailingly calm manner,” Mayor Pesce said.

“I have valued her strategic approach, wise counsel, her commitment in the face of complex challenges, and most importantly her unwavering dedication to delivering in the best interests of our community,” he said.

“I particularly thank her for her strong guidance as we delivered the $42 million dollar revitalisation of The Pavilion Performing Arts Centre. It is a legacy I am enormously proud of and would not have been possible without her leadership.”

“On behalf of all the staff and Councillors who she has worked with over the years – and indeed, our entire community – I thank her for her for her immense contribution and wish her a long and happy retirement.”

Having announced her intention to step aside from the role, Ms Grewal will continue until early July to allow a comprehensive recruitment process to determine her replacement as Council’s CEO.

“Manjeet has done an extraordinary job as CEO in leading our Council with courage, conviction and an incredible sense of calm, no matter what the job has thrown at her,” Mayor Pesce said.

“I have worked closely with Manjeet since late last year when she started planning her retirement, with a goal to ensure the elected Council could conduct a comprehensive recruitment to find her successor and ensure a seamless transition.

“It will be a real challenge finding someone who can measure up to her incredible depth of local government knowledge and the strategic and measured way she has steered our organisation through periods of significant change and great challenge.

“I am confident however, that we will draw from a strong pool of talented candidates from throughout our industry and beyond in securing our next leader.”