New Director of Economic Development Brings Diverse Experience to City's Leadership Team

Nov 20, 2020

Following a recruitment search that attracted candidates from across the country, local business leader Brett Williamson has been hired as the City’s new Director of Economic Development, effective December 14, 2020.

The Director of Economic Development is responsible for a large portfolio of important economic-related services which include Investment and Business Development, Tourism, Entrepreneurship, Arts and Culture and Immigration, and is part of the City’s Executive Leadership Team.

“Brett brings a wealth of knowledge and experience from the private sector, with a proven track record of leading change, meeting targets and supporting staff in achieving operational excellence,” said Greater Sudbury Mayor Brian Bigger. “He has a strong ability to engage those around him, and excels at collaborating with staff and stakeholders to produce effective results. These are traits that will complement the strengths of our Executive Leadership Team, and I am very excited to have him on board.”

“Brett’s extensive experience in the business sector and reputation in the community make him the ideal person to drive us forward as we continue to navigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Andrée Lacroix, Chair of the Greater Sudbury Development Corporation (GSDC) Board. “I look forward to working with Brett to continue to drive strong economic development initiatives in our community while supporting the mandate of the GSDC board.”

Brett is currently Chief Executive Officer of the Palladino Auto Group, where he has successfully developed strategies, business plans and work processes to lead a company that included 13 automotive, marine and RV businesses, with 584 staff and 20 direct reports across five major centres in Ontario. He holds an Executive Master’s degree from Queen’s University and brings significant knowledge and credibility to the economic development portfolio.

Brett held numerous important management positions at Palladino Automotive Group before becoming their CEO.

Previously, he was District Vice President for TD Canada Trust, where he was accountable for $3.1 billion book of business, with 700 staff, 24 direct reports and eight business partners, across 24 branches in northern Ontario.

He is the recipient of awards for leadership, innovation and diversity, including the Honda Canada Finance Operational Excellence award. Brett is recognized as a customer service-oriented and inclusive leader.

“I am pleased to welcome Brett to municipal government, and have him join our strong and collaborative leadership team,” said Ed Archer, Chief Administrative Officer. “He brings significant knowledge and experience that will help us produce positive results for our community.”

Originally from Kingston, Ontario, Brett and his family have called Greater Sudbury home for over 25 years, and were drawn to the many outdoor activities offered by our unique northern seasons.

“I am very excited to join this team, working with Council, the GSDC board, staff and stakeholders to continue to build a strong economic future for our community,” said Mr. Williamson. “I share Council’s vision of building a resilient and competitive City, supporting business, arts and culture and tourism, all while creating jobs. This position allows me to use my knowledge and experience, honed from many years in the private sector, to contribute to the greater good of the community.”

Meredith Armstrong, who has been serving as Acting Director of Economic Development, will return to her role as Manager of Tourism and Culture following an appropriate transition period.

The hiring committee included Mayor Brian Bigger; Andrée Lacroix, Chair of the Greater Sudbury Development Corporation Board; Ed Archer, Chief Administrative Officer; and Tony Cecutti, General Manager of Growth and Development.

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