Consulting, wine, farming
$210 million

Blenheim-born, California-based expatriate David Teece has had an active year in the courts since filing in 2013 a claim against Bahrain-based private equity investor Kuwait Finance House (KFH) over the 2009 collapse of New Zealand’s Canterbury clothing company.

The claim was originally filed in California, where Dr Teece alleged that KFH induced him to invest millions into Canterbury in the leadup to the business’s collapse and that KFH also prevented an attempt by him to sell the clothing firm one year before its demise.

The Californian court ruling awarded KFH costs, leading Dr Teece to re-file in the New Zealand courts in April last year.  KFH had claimed judgment against Dr Teece for the $US3.4 million the Bahrain Chamber for Dispute Resolution had ordered he pay but a judgment in the High Court at Nelson last December dismissed the claim.

Mr Teece had a 35% stake in Canterbury at the time of its nosedive. The company owed $101 million to creditors, including $54.4 million to KFH. The private-equity investor received $26.2m and Dr Teece got $395,000 from distributions, according to the receivers’ final report.  

In 2010 Dr Teece co-founded the Berkeley Research Group, “an expert services and consulting firm of economists and other professionals with expertise in domains ranging from higher education to corporate finance.” He is the Thomas W. Tusher professor in global business at Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and is a director of the school’s Tusher Center on Intellectual Capital. 

Dr Teece has written more than 30 books and 200 scholarly papers: according to Google Scholar, he has been cited more than 77,000 times. 

With a Ph.D in economics from the University of Pennsylvania, Dr Teece has held teaching and research positions at Stanford University and Oxford University. According to the Berkeley Research Group, he “has over 30 years of experience as an active consultant performing economic, business, and financial consulting services to businesses and governments around the world.”

At once an academic and an astute businessman, Dr Teece’s sizeable entrepreneurial interests include Mt Beautiful Vineyard and farm in the Cheviot Hills of North Canterbury through consolidating several farms in 2000 and converting 28ha to grapes: the first to do so in the area. In 2005 Mt Beautiful produced its first vintage and the wine is now sold in the US, UK, Australia, Singapore, and Hong Kong.

His other investments include Vomo Island Resort in the Fiji Islands, as well as student housing projects in Berkeley, California.

In 2003 Dr Teece was recognised as one of the world’s top 50 living business intellectuals by global management company Accenture. In the 2013 honours list for services to New Zealand-US relations, Dr Teece was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.