A restructure at the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River will see one senior manager promoted and another hire named as a director under changes unveiled this week. Finance manager Mel Stevens was named corporate and customer services director and ex-Victorian executive Nick Byrne would take on the sustainable economy and communities mantle under the shake-up, confirmed on Tuesday. The two positions were created in an organisational restructure after the departure of director James Shepherd, with his unwieldy department now split into two. The council-endorsed restructure was designed to address areas of critical need within the local government’s sphere of influence and was “designed to align with the Shire’s future direction which places sustainability at the core of all strategic initiatives and will facilitate the delivery of key economic, environmental, and social outcomes,” a Shire press release said. Shire chief executive Stephanie Addison-Brown said more than 50 candidates applied for the two jobs that involved multiple interviews and even psychological assessments. “Now the recruitment is complete, we are looking forward to progressing the Shire’s ambitious plans, which will develop a resilient and sustainable economy for the benefit of the community whilst safeguarding and protecting the natural environment for future generations,” she said. Further good news was the promotion allowed Ms Stevens to start immediately, while Mr Byrne starts work on Monday, November 13. Mr Byrne brings impressive credentials to the job as well as experience as a volunteer firefighter in Victoria while working in the tech sector. The qualified engineer with a public leadership qualification from Harvard University has strong international experience that included a stint in Paris as the global head of product for the International Chamber of Commerce — preparing him well for the challenges of business and tourism in Margaret River. Business advocates including the Margaret River Business Network were keen to see the Shire deepen its engagement with operators as part of its touted sustainable economy portfolio. Ms Stevens is a chartered accountant who previously worked for prestigious international brand LVMH as well as Fortescue Metals Group. In 2021, she was promoted to replace Shire finance manager Andrew Ross and has worked on budgets and long-term financial plans for the local government since 2018. When the jobs were advertised in September, then-Shire president Paula Cristoffanini noted Mr Shepherd’s portfolio had proven too broad. “We have recognised this year that the current two-director model has been spreading our leadership team very thin across multiple diverse portfolio areas,” Cr Cristoffanini said. The restructure was developed partly as a response to poor community feedback from the Shire’s most recent four-yearly community satisfaction survey. The two director model was put in place by Ms Addison-Brown within her first year at the helm, after taking over from former chief Gary Evershed. The two positions come with a five-year contract. Total remuneration for each position was listed as $190,000-$200,000, including a vehicle allowance. The job advertisements noted the base salary was in addition to “attractive superannuation, career development, generous leave provisions, relocation allowance, recreation centre membership and more”.