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City looks local in hiring new director of Economic Development

Palladino Auto Group CEO Brett Williamson will take the reins Dec. 14
Following a recruitment search the city said attracted candidates from across the country, Brett Williamson, CEO of Palladino Auto Group in Sudbury, has been hired as the Greater Sudbury's new director of economic development, effective Dec. 14. (Supplied)

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 Dec. 14.

The director of economic development is responsible for a large portfolio of economic-related services, including 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. 

Brett is currently CEO of the Palladino Auto Group, which includes 13 automotive, marine and RV businesses, and 584 staff.

“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, in a news release.

Originally from Kingston, Williamson has a bachelor of business administration (marketing) diploma from Loyolist College and an Executive MBA from Queen’s University. From 1995 to 2005, he was the district vice-president for TD Canada Trust based in Sudbury, accountable for 24 branches in northern Ontario. He was general manager for Palladino Honda from 2009 to 2012, before being named chief operating officer for Palladino Auto Group until 2016 when he was named CEO. 

“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 Williamson.

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 city said.

The hiring committee included Mayor Brian Bigger; GSDC Chair Andrée Lacroix, city CAO Ed Archer, and Tony Cecutti, general manager of growth and development for the City of Greater Sudbury.