Gabriel Metcalf, CEO of urban policy think tank Committee for Sydney, has informed the board of his intention to resign at the end of the year, after four years in the role.
“This is a bittersweet decision and it’s one that’s been driven entirely by personal reasons: it’s time for us to be closer to family in America,” he said.
“The past four years have been an extraordinary time for me and for my family. We were welcomed in by Sydney, and we had the great fortune to weather the storm of Covid here. We met friends who will last a lifetime, and we fell in love with Sydney.
“I am leaving the Committee in good hands. We have a truly incredible staff and board of directors. The Committee has grown in its reach and impact, and is positioned to make progress on the most important issues for Sydney.
“When we developed our strategic plan back in 2019, we decided to aim toward a goal that would express the ambition and the potential of the city – to make Sydney the best city in the world. I think we are making progress.
“Sydney is a beautiful miracle. Thank you for letting me be a part of it.”
Michael Rose AM, Chair of the Committee for Sydney Board, said: “The Committee’s research, advocacy, engagement and impact have lifted significantly under Gabriel’s leadership, enabled by his clear strategic decisions and approach.”
“Gabriel has built a strong and energetic team and deep relationships with members of the Committee across Greater Sydney. The Board will now conduct an orderly succession process and support the management team in the transition.”
The Board has commenced a formal search for a successor, with Deputy CEO and Director of Strategy Ehssan Veiszadeh acting in the role from start 2023.
Notes: Since joining in January 2019, Gabriel Metcalf has led a significant expansion of the Committee’s research, advocacy and convening program, increasing its operating budget from $1.6 million to $3.5 million.
Key achievements include:
- Setting the organisation up for long term success:
- Developing its first strategic plan, laying the groundwork for greater impact
- Organising the work into six program areas, with the Agenda for Sydney
- Building out a high-powered professional team
- Creating a resilience program
- Expanding programming output with new events including the Sydney Awards and Sydney Summit among the 80 events produced each year.
- Key areas of advocacy focus:
- Covid-19 recovery
- Continued expansion of the Sydney Metro network and focusing growth around rail stations
- Planning at the scale of the ‘Sandstone Megaregion,’ now called the metropolis of six cities
- Repealing the lockout laws and reviving nightlife
- Tackling high housing costs
- Expediting the climate transition
- Expanding walking, cycling and public space.
- Developing major policy research projects:
- Unleashing the Innovation Economy
- Rethinking Station Precincts: How to create great precincts around rail stations and why this matters for Sydney
- Reclaiming Sydney’s High Streets
- Reclaiming Parramatta Road
- Mapping Sydney’s High Streets
- Better Parking for Better Places
- Future of the CBD
- Decarbonising Sydney: The role of transport, buildings and grid infrastructure on Greater Sydney’s path to net zero
- And many more in the Committee’s policy library.
Gabriel Metcalf: CEO of the Committee for Sydney since January 2019. Previously President and CEO of SPUR, one of the preeminent planning organisations in the USA, for 14 years.
Michael Rose AM: Chair of the Committee for Sydney, Greater Sydney Parklands, Northwest Rapid Transit (NRT Group), a Trustee of the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust, and member of the Board of Westmead Institute for Medical Research.
Ehssan Veiszadeh: Deputy CEO and Director of Strategy of the Committee for Sydney, incoming Non-Executive Director at the Crescent Institute, member of the Alumni Council at the University of Sydney. Previously Director of Strategy to the NSW Premier and press gallery reporter for Australian Associated Press.