Leadership team

Learn more about the Chief Executive and Directors.

Ecan Stefanie Rixecker 2023

Stefanie Rixecker

Chief Executive

Stefanie was appointed Chief Executive in August 2020. She has an impressive background in leadership and management, with more than a dozen governance roles – in education, primary industry and more. Stefanie was previously Director of Science and has led the Science team, the Freshwater portfolio and the Climate Change Integration programme.

Stefanie has valued and strong relationships with Ngāi Tahu Papatipu Rūnanga, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, territorial authorities, stakeholders, Ministers, Ministries and central government departments.

 Contact Stefanie Rixecker

David Perenara OConnell

David Perenara-O'Connell

Te Pou Herenga/Director Ngāi Tahu and Maori Relations and Director Operations (acting)

The Te Pou Herenga role recognises the significance of our partnership with Ngāi Tahu and is responsible for the strategic oversight of the relationship and enabling our organisation to become a Treaty partner of excellence.

David has held management roles with Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu and Environment Canterbury, where he has worked for 10 years. He uses his expertise, experience, and Ngāi Tahu te ao Māori worldview to provide leadership in resolving challenges and opportunities facing the organisation.

As acting Director Operations, David is responsible for delivering a broad range of services that contribute toward the outcome of our local and regional communities. This includes zone support, resource consents, compliance, enforcement, biodiversity, biosecurity, river engineering, harbourmaster and regional depots.

 Contact David Perenara-O'Connell

Katherine Trought

Katherine Trought

Director Strategy and Planning

As the Strategy and Planning Director, Katherine is responsible for providing strong and dynamic leadership of the group, ensuring the organisation has a clear strategic direction with defined priorities and integrated work programmes. The team is also responsible for creating a robust planning framework that enables the Canterbury community to thrive. 

 Contact Katherine Trought

Tafflyn Bradford James

Tafflyn Bradford-James

Director Communications and Engagement

As Director Communications and Engagement, Tafflyn leads a team dedicated to informing and engaging the community around the regional council’s responsibilities, including the challenges and opportunities for water management, the relationships between land use and environmental quality, and how poor air quality can be improved.

 Contact Tafflyn Bradford-James

Tim Davie

Tim Davie

Director Science

As Director Science, Tim manages the Science Group, with a vision to deliver the right science, at the right time and in the right way for the benefit of our communities and the environment.

 Contact Tim Davie

Giles Southwell

Giles Southwell

Director Corporate and Public Transport Services

Giles is originally from the United Kingdom and has worked across central, regional and local government in a variety of roles, both there and in New Zealand since moving here in 2008. 

He is an experienced people leader in a range of corporate functions, such as finance, planning, performance frameworks, digital, risk, and property. 

He is responsible for leading his team to ensure that the corporate functions can effectively support the work of Environment Canterbury, while also ensuring that the organisation is safe, secure and financially sustainable.

 Contact Giles Southwell

Hall Stephen

Stephan Hall

Director Operations

Before joining our team in September 2023, Stephen was Director of Operations at NEXT Foundation, and he has previous regional government experience at both Taranaki Regional Council and here at Environment Canterbury.

In his earlier role with us, he was involved in the development of our Tuia agreement with Ngāi Tahu, and the early days of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy development and implementation.

Stephen has brought strong leadership skills, and an in-depth understanding of our environment and communities, to the team at a pivotal time of internal and external change.

 Contact Stephen Hall