New Zealand could be seeing a lot more of Blenheim-born businessman, entrepreneur and educator David Teece following his New Year’s honour.
Professor Teece, founder of the Mt Beautiful winery in North Canterbury, bases himself and his consultancy work in the US but is now considering spending more time here.
“For the first time I think I’m beginning to think about shifting more of my interest and time to New Zealand,” he told the Marlborough Express after being made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to New Zealand-United States relations.
He had earlier said Nelson was “the best place on the planet” but missed vital connections to the global financial communities, which was largely what kept him in the US.
Professor Teece is an internationally acclaimed professor of economics, a successful entrepreneur and heads up the Berkley Research Group, a leading consultancy firm.
Ten years ago, he was identified by global management company Accenture – a Fortune Global 500 company – as one of the world’s top 50 living business intellectuals. He has been labeled a Kiwi “brainiac”
The business school professor is one of America’s busiest expert witnesses, testifying in court on such diverse issues as baby formula, cigarettes, software and cement.
Last August he was called as an expert witness by Samsung in its defence of a lawsuit brought by rival Apple over copyright patented designs.
“David had this aura of credibility,” recalls one corporate lawyer.
“He could explain complicated ideas to people who weren’t used to thinking about economics – people believed him.”
That gift earned him tens of millions of dollars, which have been invested in business ventures and real estate on both sides of the Pacific.
Not surprisingly he believes academic research and entrepreneurship go hand in hand with each other.
“Does this threaten core university values?” he asks. “No. The truth is that entrepreneurship can reinforce a university’s mission and strengths.
“Turning a research breakthrough into a business is a classic exercise in cross-disciplinary thinking and collaboration – exactly the values that a great research university supports.
“I myself have been a scholar and entrepreneur throughout my career. Trust me: people on both sides of the fence have a lot to learn from each other,” he says.
Professor Teece owns the Crown pastoral lease of Eskhead Station and is a founding shareholder of the Hurunui Water Project, a $550 million irrigation scheme that would dam north Canterbury’s Hurunui River.
He and businessman Sir Stephen Tindall co-founded the Kea New Zealand global network in 2001. The not-for-profit organisation is governed by a global board and leverages its global network to support the international success of New Zealand and its people.
He and his wife, Leigh, are involved in philanthropic activities, including in Nelson, and have been long-time supporters of the Suter Art Gallery.