Sweeney eyes governance and exec roles after Porter Novelli departure

Jane Sweeney plans a combination of board seats and executive positions having closed the door on her nine year career at the top of PR firm Porter Novelli.

Offshore stints could also be on the cards, but she wants to stay based in New Zealand.

“I have had a lot of potential opportunities that I’ve turned down because I haven’t been able to reconcile a governance career with a full time executive role,” she says.

Last year Sweeney joined the boards of the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation and Global Women Trust, and has also joined the governance group of Diverse New Zealand Inc, which is focused on leadership diversity.

Sweeney says senior women leaders she admires, like Global Women chair and former prime minister Jenny Shipley and Chorus/Diverse New Zealand Inc chair Sue Sheldon, combine governance and consultancy.

“I really like the look of that. 

“I’m going to look at a couple of other boards but I’m going to be very careful about that because the commitments are huge. It will be a combination of governance and some sort of executive activities.”

Sweeney says she’s had “a few leads in China” and hopes to attend the APEC Women Leaders Forum in Beijing next month.

She says highlights of her Porter Novelli career were working on the IAG Need to Know campaign with DraftFCB, and campaigns with other clients including Fuji Xerox, Vodafone and Microsoft. She’s also enjoyed building the team and winning recognition at mainstream business awards.

She describes the Porter Novelli leadership as a dream team and says she’s leaving the business on a high.

The company’s general manager Strahan Wallis has been appointed acting managing director and Carolyn Kerr and Sarah Williams continue as executive directors.

Jim Moser, CEO of the Clemenger Group, says it will however be business as usual for clients and staff.

“We have a strong next generation leadership team in place which has been there for many years, so the agency is in safe hands,” he says.

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