City hires CAO with strong background in private sector

Retired entrepreneur Eric Sorensen is the City of Penticton’s new chief administrative officer.

The City of Penticton has hired Eric Sorensen as the new chief administrative officer.

The City of Penticton has hired Eric Sorensen as the new chief administrative officer.

Retired entrepreneur Eric Sorensen is the City of Penticton’s new chief administrative officer, filling the role left vacant when Annette Antoniak resigned in February.

Sorensen is already well-known in Penticton. A former chair of the of the Vees Junior A franchise, Sorensen was also chair of the Penticton Business Development Society, which was formed in December 2011 to take over the tourism marketing contract for Penticton, before folding in February 2012.

Sorensen, who starts work on July 20, brings with him a strong background in the private sector. His career highlights include being president and CEO of Sun-Rype Products and president of pharmaceutical giant Warner-Lambert. He has extensive education, including the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

“My background working with governments is most recently  here, sitting on the Community and Business Development Committee,” said Sorensen. “When I was in Kelowna, I also  worked on the Economic Development Committee of the Central Okanagan and worked on the executive of that for three years and served on that board for five years.”

Mayor Andrew Jakubeit said Sorensen’s corporate background was a factor in choosing him as the new CAO.

“From council’s perspective, what we really liked is that Eric actually comes from the corporate world and brings a different perspective to partnerships, sustainability, service to customers and leveraging opportunities,” said Jakubeit. “We really wanted someone with private sector experience, with a proven track record and the ability to create an inclusive environment and corporate culture.”

Sorensen describes Penticton as  fertile ground.

“I think there is significant opportunity to enhance how we engage, how we focus and how we pursue the vision of the community,” said Sorensen, who describes himself as a big believer in engagement and a big believer in having the voice of the stakeholder.

“But at the same time you need to have the courage to make the right decisions for the community or an organization,” he said.

Since leaving his position at Sun-Rype in 2008, Sorensen said he has been semi-retired, travelling with his wife and consulting, including starting a business with partners in Penticton; consulting to large organizations and startup companies, helping them with strategic planning, helping them with building high performance teams, turn around situations.

Sorensen said he doesn’t live in Penticton, calling himself a resident of the Okanagan.

“I recently had a home in Heritage Hills (Okanagan Falls). We sold that about a year ago and we now reside in Kelowna and on Lake Osoyoos,” said Sorensen.

The announcement of Sorensen as the new CAO comes six months after Annette Antoniak’s final day. The position was first filled by Chuck Loewen as interim CAO before he resigned last month. Mitch Moroziuk, director of operations, has been filling in as interim CAO since.