FREDERICTON (GNB) – Following a competitive, merit-based process in keeping with the provincial government's commitments, three new deputy ministers have been selected. Premier Brian Gallant made the announcement today.

"These talented individuals bring diverse experiences from different sectors which will benefit New Brunswickers in ensuring that they are provided with good government focused on the priorities of economic growth, education and health care," said Gallant.

Lee Bell-Smith will become deputy attorney general effective Sep. 8. Nicole Picot will become deputy minister of Finance, and Françoise Roy will become deputy minister of Tourism, Heritage and Culture. These appointments are effective Oct. 3.

The appointments were made following the commitment by Gallant during the last change of deputy ministers to have an open, competitive and merit-based process.

With these three appointments, there are 21 deputy ministers compared to 27 in September 2014. This represents a reduction of about 30 per cent.

"I thank all of the talented New Brunswickers and others from outside our province who applied for these important positions wanting to make a difference here in our province," said Gallant. "I also thank Kelly Cain, Gordon Gilman and Kelli Simmonds for taking on more responsibility in the interim period."

Biographical notes on the new deputy ministers

Lee Bell-Smith

A native of Dalhousie, Bell-Smith has lived in Saint John for more than 20 years where he has worked in corporate, commercial and contract law. He spent the last 15 years as a partner and manager at the firm of Stewart McKelvey.

Nicole Picot

A long-time civil servant, Picot has served at the assistant deputy minister or executive director level in the departments of Finance; Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour; Health; and Social Development; and the Executive Council Office. During this period, she took a leave from government to work as vice-president of communications at the Canadian Tire Corp. Picot returns to the Department of Finance where she worked for nine years principally in tax policy and investor relations.

Françoise Roy

After working on tourism files at the Department of Economic Development and Tourism in the 1990s, Roy has had a lengthy private sector career working‎ in communications, marketing and management.