2019 Speakers


Broadcaster and Journalist, TVNZ


Former Prime Minister of New Zealand

Bill English was Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister from October 2008 to December 2016 and Prime Minister of New Zealand until the change of government in October 2017, prior to standing down from politics in March 2018.  Bill English guided the New Zealand economy through the global financial crisis to be one of the faster growing developed economies with sustainable government surpluses. He initiated tax reforms, partial floats of four government companies and financing the rebuild of Christchurch after the 2010 earthquakes. As Minister for Infrastructure he set up the National Infrastructure Unit and initiated New Zealand’s first PPP programme.

Bill English also focussed on public sector reform, balance sheet management and led the development and implementation of Social Investment, a world leading policy innovation for large scale social services. He oversaw significant investment in digitalising government and improving customer experience of public services.

Mr English was Minister of Health from 1996 to 1999 and has also held ministerial roles in education housing and revenue since his election to Parliament in 1990. He has a long term interest in economic restructuring, sound microeconomic policy and social policy reform.

Bill English is married to Dr Mary English a medical practitioner and they have 6 children.


Recently returned after three years of being NZ Ambassador to the United States

My speciality is creating international strategies (TPP for example), negotiating and fixing ‘wicked’ problems by identifying common ground amongst proponents. I have done this at the highest international level, combining both the political level entrée that my title gives me with deep technocratic training and background.


Chief Economic Advisor, Treasury

Tim Ng is responsible for ensuring that the Treasury’s policy advice on raising New Zealand living standards is supported and strengthened by sound economic theory and evidence.

Tim is a macroeconomist by training, with extensive international experience in monetary, fiscal and financial system policy. His work is published in a range of professional and academic journals.

Prior to joining the Treasury, Tim managed various functions at the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, including domestic and international economic monitoring and forecasting, analysis of monetary policy conduct, banking regulation and payments system policy. Tim has also worked as an economist at the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland and at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Tim was born and raised in Auckland. He has postgraduate degrees in economics from Victoria University of Wellington and in biochemistry from the University of Auckland.


Chief Executive, Business NZ

Kirk Hope is Chief Executive of BusinessNZ, New Zealand’s largest business advocacy body, advocating for New Zealand’s success through sustainable market-led growth.

Kirk previously led the New Zealand Bankers’ Association and Financial Services Federation after holding a range of senior positions at Westpac, including Head of Government Relations and Regulatory Affairs.

A barrister and solicitor with a master’s degree in law focused on regulation of financial services, Kirk also holds a post graduate honours degree in political science. For five years he was a member of the Commercial and Business Law Committee of the New Zealand Law Society.


Partner, PwC and Member, Tax Working Group

Geof is an experienced tax partner based in Auckland and leads our New Zealand Financial Advisory Services business line. He has provided tax advisory and compliance services for many years to a wide range of entities including international businesses, publicly listed companies, privately owned business, iwi organisations and large government entities.
Geof has had an extensive involvement in the development of tax policy in New Zealand over the last 17 years including being a member of the CAANZ National Tax Advisory Group from 2000 to 2011 (chair from 2008 to 2010) and a member of the Tax Working Group in 2010. https://www.victoria.ac.nz/sacl/centres-and-chairs/cagtr/twg
Geof is a current member of the Government’s Tax Working Group chaired by Sir Michael Cullen. https://taxworkinggroup.govt.nz/
Geof leads PwC’s national tax policy engagement with Government and with the Generic Tax Policy Process.
Since 2013, Geof has been a member of the Commissioner of Inland Revenue’s Transformation Reference Group meeting regularly with the Commissioner and her senior Transformation executives to review and discuss progress on the multi year, billion dollar business transformation of Inland Revenue. http://www.ird.govt.nz/transformation/whos-involved/whos-involved-index.html
Geof is a well known media commentator and speaker on tax policy matters and has a reputation for being able to convey complex tax policy matters in an accessible manner.


Global expert on the future of work, author and futurist

Graeme Codrington is an expert on the future of work and the disruptive forces that are shaping it. As an author and researcher, his insights and analysis are sought after by business schools and CEOs around the world, with five degrees, four best selling books and a full-time research team at his company, TomorrowToday, to back it up. Graeme works as a Board advisor, strategist, and as a keynote presenter and facilitator, using multimedia, a gently rebuking humour and an engaging style to make his insights accessible and inspiring. He works across multiple industries at numerous meetings and events in more than 20 countries every year. He was recently inducted into the Professional Speakers Association "Hall of Fame".


Global Intelligent Automation Leader and South-East Asia Digital & Emerging Technology Leader, PwC South East Asian Consulting

Businesses are rapidly shifting from being traditional and product-centric to the development of market- and customer-centric solutions adaptable to micro-trends and capable of autonomous, real-time decision-making – known as the ‘data-driven intelligent enterprise’. To solve this companies need to rapidly adopt AI and intelligent process automation technologies to connect and unlock the value of the disparate parts of their organisation–systems, data, and work force capabilities. PwC believes adoption of AI and intelligent process automation is different to traditional technology transformations, fundamentally challenging an organisation’s status quo. The PwC Our Ai+A value proposition therefore takes a holistic business-led approach that incorporates assets and solutions to solve the technology requirements and the associated organisational and workforce change and they have a strong track record in delivering these solutions end-to-end across the value chain in all industries and functions.

Shaun leads the Ai+A impact centre for PwC globally and focuses on the strategy, innovation, go-to-market strategy and holistic delivery of both the Ai+A value proposition globally and emerging technologies for clients in South-east Asia. Through his industry and consulting experience Ihe has developed a deep appreciation for what makes the implementation of these technologies successful across different industries and functions throughout their value chains. Prior to PwC, Shaun held multiple senior executive roles as a head of technology for a large Australian bank focused on all of these aspects including the building, transforming and running of a large-scale technology operations and delivery captive in Manila and ownership for supporting all banking applications and business operations (Retail, Commercial, Wealth, Institutional, etc) across 35 markets.


Chief Financial Officer, Xero

Kirsty is a Chartered Accountant with over 20 years’ experience in the finance and technology sectors. Kirsty leads the global finance and facilities operations teams, helping to grow and scale the business. Prior to Xero, Kirsty was a partner at PwC New Zealand focusing on helping small businesses achieve their goals and also led PwC’s regional cloud strategy. Passionate about providing excellent financial services, Kirsty’s strategic, technology and finance experience is the perfect fit for Xero’s next stage of growth. Kirsty holds a Bachelor of Commerce and Management from Lincoln University.


Chief Financial Officer, Silver Fern Farms

Vicki McColl is a talented and seasoned executive with over 20 years’ experience in senior leadership roles. She recently returned to New Zealand to take up the role of Chief Financial Officer at Silver Fern Farms following a successful career in the mining industry spanning New Zealand, Australia, United Kingdom and South America. Enthusiastic, passionate and commercially focused she has developed herself to be a true partner with experience across a broad range of disciplines from Information Technology, Community Relations to Risk Management but always underpinned by strong financial and commercial acumen. Vicki was educated at the University of Otago and hails from a childhood exposed to the primary sector, so feels she has truly come home.


Chief Executive Officer, Kiwa Digital

KIWA Digital is a Maori owned and operated digital technology business working in the intersection between language and technology for more than 15 years. KIWA has long-standing commitment to Maori that goes back to the company’s foundation in Maori broadcasting and recently recognised at Nga Tohu Reo Maori and New Zealand International Business Awards 2016. Over the years the company has delivered multiple projects benefiting Maori across a wide range of sectors including literacy, careers, health and cultural intelligence.

As Kaiwhakahaere Matua | CEO my role is to guide its direction and sustainability through insight, innovation and service. At a technology level this requires focus around design thinking, research and development. At staff level this requires insights and execution on how tribes emerge, survive and thrive. At a leadership level it requires focus on creating high performance teams. Typically I observe and influence through the lens of Tribal Leadership. This approach focuses on language and relationships that drive performance in a sustainable manner.

I live in West Harbour, Tamaki Makaurau and in my spare time enjoy cycling, music, cuisine, viticulture, and travel.


Vice President Finance, Corporate Controller and Treasurer, Patagonia


Chief Financial Officer, Z Energy

Chris leads the Z Energy Finance, Technology and Risk team. The team comprises people in Treasury, Financial Control, Capital Allocation and Procurement, Investment Evaluation and Analysis, Risk and Assurance and Project and Technology. He is also Acting Chairman of Landcorp Farming Limited, New Zealand’s largest farmer.

He has held a range of executive and governance roles in listed and other commercial entities during his career. He enjoys working with a wide range of people in support of values-based leadership that creates sustainable, long-term shareholder value by making the most of technology, managing risk, and making great choices about capital allocation.


Head of Responsible Investment, NZ Superfund

Anne-Maree O’Connor is Head of Responsible Investment for the New Zealand Superannuation Fund (NZSF). Her main role is the development and oversight of the Guardians’ responsible investment (RI) framework which includes integrating environmental, social and governance considerations across the New Zealand Superannuation Fund’s investments. Anne-Maree is a current board member of the RI Association Australasia and is a recipient of the Women of Influence 2017 award in the Board and Management category. She has recently become a Commissioner on the Financial Sector Commission on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking (Liechtenstein Initiative).

Anne-Maree has over 20 years of RI experience and has held senior roles in the RI and corporate responsibility field including Managing Director of CoreRatings, Associate Director RI at Aviva’s Morley Fund Management and Head of RI Research at Henderson Global Investors. Anne-Maree holds an MSc from the University College of Wales (UK), a BSc from Massey University (NZ) and the Investment Management Certificate (UK).


Chief Financial Officer, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

Stewart leads the MBIE Finance and Performance team which has responsibility for all finance functions together with Property, Procurement and Payroll and provides information and insights to support to MBIE’s leaders.

Stewart is a highly experienced finance professional with over 15 years’ experience in senior CFO and executive positions with some of New Zealand’s largest and most complex organisations. Stewart has been CFO for Westpac, AMP, ASB and the New Zealand Racing Board. He has significant experience in all aspects of finance and has led large teams encompassing not only finance, taxation, treasury, strategy, legal and actuarial functions, but also operations and sales. He has served as a Director on a large number of Boards including for three NZX-listed companies. Stewart is currently Chairman of the Auckland-based Squirrel Group, a rapidly growing financial services business.

Stewart is passionate about IT solutions and leading continuous improvement and is a highly energetic finance change agent. With his empowering and engaging style, he builds and develops strong and diverse teams with a broad range of skills.

Stewart has a Bachelor of Commerce, is a Chartered Accountant and Member of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, a Fellow of CPA Australia and a Chartered Member of the New Zealand Institute of Directors.


Finance Transformation Consultant, Blackline

Product Expert, Implemented BlackLine at large global, public organization. With 30 years experience in Finance Transformation. Held roles in Controllership and Project Management, PMP Certified. Heavy involvement with bringing organizations through the shared-service journey. Graduate, Cornell University’s SC Johnson School of Business


Chief Financial Officer, Moana New Zealand

Simon has been involved in the primary sector for many years and his experience includes previous CFO roles and working in the USA for a public company where he managed an international finance and IT team in the USA, Russia, Chile, Japan and Canada. Simon has also spent time with an international accountancy firm in New Zealand, Canada and the USA.


Chief Executive, McGuinness Institute

Wendy McGuinness is the founder and chief executive of the McGuinness Institute. Originally from the King Country, Wendy went on to study at Manukau Technical Institute (gaining an NZCC), University of Auckland (BCom), University of Otago (MBA), Massey University (completing a range of environmental papers) and Harvard (completing the Executive Programme on Driving Corporate Performance). In 2009 she received a fellowship from the NZICA, becoming a Fellow Chartered Accountant (FCA) for outstanding contribution to the accountancy profession and service to the community. Specialising in risk management, she prepared the 1988 report Implementation of Accrual Accounting for Government Departments for the New Zealand Treasury. Wendy has worked in both the public and private sectors specialising in public sector reporting, risk management and future studies. In 2004 she established the Institute as a way of contributing to New Zealand’s long-term future. Since then she has, with her team, published a range of reports under the title Project 2058, written the book Nation Dates: Significant events that have shaped the nation of New Zealand and attended four World Futures conferences. She continues to be fascinated by the development and implementation of public policy, in particular how New Zealand might secure its future in the long-term and in doing so, how New Zealand might become an exemplar for the world.


CFO, Partners Life

Sean Kam is the Chief Financial Officer of Partners Life, New Zealand’s fastest growing life insurance company which has transformed from its start-up in 2011 to a high growth company with $230m of premiums in-force at September 2017.
Most recently Sean lead the $200m capital commitment from the Blackstone Tactical Opportunities Fund for Partners. Blackstone Group is the world’s largest alternative asset manager with over US$350B under management.
With prior roles as the CFO of NZSX Listed Heartland, and the COO of pre-eminent investment bank ABN AMRO New Zealand, Sean has significant financial and risk management experience in start-up, high growth, listed company and regulated financial institutions.
Sean has applied his prior experience into embedding risk capabilities into Partners Life, an organisation that needs a pragmatic risk framework to remain nimble, while complying with its obligations as a regulated institution.
Sean is a BCom qualified CAANZ Chartered Accountant, and an INFINZ Certified Treasury Professional.


Chief Financial Officer, KiwiRail


Chief Financial Officer, Sovereign

As Chief Financial Officer for New Zealand’s leading life insurer, Cherise is responsible for financial and management oversight of the Sovereign business together with company strategy.
Cherise joined Sovereign in March 2016, having worked in the financial services industry for the past 14 years across a number of senior roles in both finance and the business, including Westpac, KPMG and ANZ National Bank. Prior to this Cherise was with PricewaterhouseCoopers, ENZAFRUIT NZ International and Consultus NZ.
Cherise has developed a unique vision for her career that drives her both personally and professionally. Identified as a change leader within her organisation, she represented Sovereign as part of the Rethinking Leadership Programme in India. In collaboration with The Hunger Project, she met with elected women representatives who work tirelessly to improve the future of their villages against incredible odds. By understanding how they approach and overcome obstacles, Cherise has further cemented her ambition to make a difference and inspire the next generation of leaders. Cherise is also a member of Global Women.
Cherise is a Chartered Accountant and a member of the Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand. She holds a Bachelor of Business Studies from Massey University.
Outside of work Cherise enjoys spending time with her son Quinn (13), walking, cooking, and her main passion is travel.


Chief Financial Officer, Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand


Director of Business Development, Soul Machines

Shaun is the Director of Business Development at Soul Machines, a role he has held since February 2017. Shaun recently returned from the Silicon Valley, where he worked in field sales at Verizon Enterprise Solutions, Salesforce.com, and MuleSoft.
Prior to starting his technology career Shaun played rugby in the 1999 Rugby World Cup for the US National team and had brief stint in the NFL. His role at Soul Machines is to build partnerships and work with large Enterprise and Government customers, to bring their first digital employees to life.


Group Chief Financial Officer, Auckland Council

Sue was appointed as the CFO of Auckland Council in January 2015 and became the Group CFO on 1 October 2015. Primarily an experienced Corporate & Institutional banker, Sue has a wealth of international experience having held numerous senior or Chief Executive roles in the financial services, energy and IT sectors. Sue was the Chief Operating Officer of Westpac in Asia and Chief Executive Strategy and Reputation in the Commonwealth Bank of Australia Group. Sue is a Member of both the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Company Directors, a Fellow of Certified Practicing Accountants Australia Ltd (CPA). She is also a Member of Global Women and was a finalist in the 2016 Women of Influence Awards (Board & Management category). She was appointed as an independent director to the board of Mainfreight on 1 January 2017.


Senior Finance Manager, Goodman Fielder

Sue is a finance executive with more than 30 years’ experience leading finance teams across different industries. She’s seen the evolution of the finance function first hand, and this combined with her passion to encourage success in others, has been at the heart of her recent work project - the transformation from accountants to high performing finance business partners.


General Manager - ERP/EPM SAAS, Oracle A/NZ

John Leonard recently returned to Oracle as the General Manager of Oracle’s ERP Business in Australia and New Zealand. In this capacity John is responsible for leading Oracle’s team of ERP Sellers accelerate the transformation of our client’s organisations. Prior to this role John spent nine years at Microsoft in various leadership roles in their Dynamics Practice in both the USA and AUS, including as the Dynamics Lead in Australia where John was responsible for the People, Product Sales, Marketing, and Partner Channel.
John graduated with a MBA from State University of New York at Buffalo.

Broadcaster and Journalist

Former Prime Minister of New Zealand

Former NZ Ambassador to the United States

Chief Economic Advisor

Chief Executive
Business NZ


Global expert on the future of work, author and futurist

Global Intelligent Automation Leader

Chief Financial Officer

Chief Financial Officer
Silver Fern Farms

Chief Executive Officer
Kiwa Digital

Vice President Finance

Chief Financial Officer
Z Energy

Head of Responsible Investment
NZ Superfund

Chief Financial Officer

Finance Transformation Consultant