Callaghan Innovation board put in place ahead of opening

Navman founder Sir Peter Maire

The government has recruited Navman founder Sir Peter Maire and Wynyard Group chief executive Craig Richardson to the board of its new high-tech "one-stop-shop", and put a woman in charge.

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise director Robin Hapi and Professor Peter Hunter from Auckland University are also new appointments to the board of Callaghan Innovation ahead of its opening for business on February 1.

Sue Suckling, who is chairs the establishment board setting up the new Crown entity, will chair the board. However, foundation board member and a key influence on the reforms, entrepreneur Neville Jordan, has not been appointed.

The only director reappointed from the Crown research institute, Industrial Research Ltd, to be retained is Richard Janes, who joined the IRL board in 2011.

IRL proposed an alternative approach to the restructuring, suggesting creation of an Advanced Technology Institute with Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch campuses.

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce went instead for a wider amalgamation of innovation assets, including a role for New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, with whom the new entity shares a head office in central Wellington.

Callaghan Innovation, named after the late scientist Sir Paul Callaghan, brings together the current operations of IRL, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's business investments team and the Auckland Foodbowl.

The government has set aside $166 million of funding over four years for the organisation charged with converting great ideas into successful businesses.

Auckland Transport director Paul Lockey and Australian company director Dr Michele Allan are moving from the establishment board to the new board.

"I am confident this board will successfully set up Callaghan Innovation as an organisation that is fully in tune with businesses' needs and will help them grow through science and innovation," Mr Joyce says in a statement.

"It will deliver fresh thinking and offer a diversity of perspective and experience that Callaghan Innovation will benefit from."

IRL chief executive Shaun Coffey did not move to the new organisation and a new chief executive appointment is imminent.

The new institute has been described as a "one-stop-shop" for high-value, innovative businesses with high growth potential.


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A one-stop shop. Yeah, right. If the people behind this believe that, they will fail.
Commercialising technology requires people / businesses to have significant networks, and relying on anyone who thinks they know it all is very dangerous. Can this institute help? Yes, but they need to know their limitations, and one suspects they do not.


I'm going to bet that you have never worked with any of the previous entities before, and are just spouting some anti-government rhetoric.

My company applied for, and was successful in gaining, a very small grant last year. Though the process was slow (at one point they lost the contract), it was well thought out and the end goal has almost been met.

A universal entity won't solve anything, but it may make things a little more streamlined. The main point is, we drove the innovation, we took the risk, thus we gain the traction in the market, and ultimately the whole economy benefits.

So far one new employee as a direct result, work contracted out to a third party for the three-month duration, with more work projected.

For my two cents, I think Callaghan Innovation will only be limited by small thinking.


Networks are all very well. But in the fast-moving tech space, including the people who populate it, there's a fundament requirement for the basics in selling, from cold calling with a value proposition and an experience-based understanding of the 'power base'.


Very true. I can't understand why we are even making comments like this! It is as easy as ABC, yet has not followed. Professor C would not be happy.


So what's the word on Jordan's non-appointment?


And put a woman in charge? God forbid! What kind of comment is that?


Any relationship between Craig Richardson and Ruth, who chairs the Wynyard board?


Not related.


Notable for who is not there than those that are. No South Island representation but at least IRL are not running the show.


Consultants from the "establishment" unit dominate the management team. What have they supposed to have been doing for the last six months?


What kind of a statement is "put a woman in charge" - takes the focus away from the actual point of the article!


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