Posted on Wednesday 25 January 2017 by Ulster Business
It may appear odd to name the chief executive of a council as a Leader in Business but few would argue with the inclusion of Suzanne Wylie in this year’s list.
She exemplifies the new breed of council bosses who have emerged following the recent reorganisation of Northern Ireland’s council structure. She’s placing business at the heart of her plans for the future of their area, both from an economic and social point of view.
A native of the city, she was appointed to the top job in April 2015 having previously been Director of Health and Environmental Services.
At that stage she had already completed 25-years’ service at the council so is well versed in the workings of such a large organisation and the need to manage a wide range of relationships in the political, public sector, business and consumer arena.
And she’s in no doubt how important those relationships are.
“This is a time when the elected members, the officers and the various stakeholders of Belfast all need to work together for the good of the people of the city, the council and its employees.”
“I have been responsible in recent years for a leading a number of partnerships aimed at making Belfast a safer, healthier, more vibrant and sustainable city.
“I am passionate about my home city of Belfast and am committed to dealing
with some of our long-standing issues such as health inequalities and community cohesion.”
The latter points are ones which you would normally associate with a council boss but Ms Wylie has also made it clear that economic growth is a key pillar to the city’s future.
As well as taking a lead role in putting Belfast on the map for international property investors at recent MIPIM conferences, she is also behind a key bid with Westminster which is expected to a “game-changing” for the city’s economy.
She presented the City Growth Deal – an action plan to support the council’s already ambitious plans of boosting the economy, creating jobs and ensuring economic growth reaches all areas, including disadvantaged communities – to the House of Commons along with a posse of political representatives.
And Ms Wylie is confident that Belfast has the potential to shine.
“Belfast has always had distinguished history as a pioneering city – it now needs to take its place as a modern, international city that can successfully compete with others in global trade networks,” she said.
“Just like Manchester and Glasgow, we
need to champion Belfast to have more powers to grow and prosper, to attract investors whilst also improving the lives of everyone in the city.
“Belfast certainly has the assets, the opportunity and the political will to implement a radical agenda for change that will transform the lives of both those who live within the city and further afield, but I am highly confident, given the high calibre of our elected members, our staff, the stakeholders and the people of Belfast, that we can successfully work together in partnership to meet the challenge and grow the city as a great place to invest, work, live and visit in the years ahead.”
She has a rather lengthy to-do list, but there is little doubt that Belfast, and Northern Ireland’s, economic future looks brighter with Ms Wylie at the helm of Belfast City Council.