Business leaders

Involvement with the business community is key to the success of our students and school.

We welcome business leaders as part of regular curriculum so our students gain from direct contact with hands-on experience and information.

Building strong relationships with business leaders enables us to bring into the classroom real issues affecting global business. This helps to equip our students to meet future business challenges.

Business School Executives-in-Residence

Our Executive-in-Residence (EIR) appointments broaden the Business School's relationship with the business community. Typically the EIR is a prominent senior executive whose role is to share their expertise with our faculty and students. Involved as mentor, project adviser, ambassador and networker, the EIR becomes fully integrated into the life of the School.

Greg Cross

Greg Cross joined the Business School as our Sir John Logan Campbell Executive-In-Residence in 2013, as champion for the University of Auckland Business School Entrepreneurs' Challenge and chair of its Investment Committee.

Greg is an experienced technology executive, company board director and Chair. Greg is Co-Founder and Chief Executive Office at Soul Machines, a developer of intelligent, emotionally responsive avatars as a user interface for Artificial Intelligence (AI) platforms. The University of Auckland spin-out company was founded based on the BabyX technology created by Dr Mark Sagar and his engineering research team at the University’s Laboratory for Animate Technologies at the Auckland Bioengineering Institute.

He is the co-founder of Movac portfolio company PowerByProxi and the Chair of listed technology company SLI Systems. He is also past chair of the business incubator The Icehouse and the NZTE North America Beach Heads programme.

Cecilia Tarrant

Cecilia Tarrant joined the Business School as Executive-in-Residence in 2010. She brings to the position over 20 years' experience in international banking and finance in San Francisco, New York and London, first as a real estate finance lawyer, then as an investment banker. One of the leaders of the securitisation industry in Europe, she brings to the school a wealth of real-world experience and insight. Cecilia also established the Women’s Mentoring Programme, now in its 11th year, which matches female students with women in the business community. In 2021, Cecilia was appointed as Chancellor of the University of Auckland.

Geoff Whitcher

Geoff Whitcher joined the Business School as an Executive in Residence in 2018. He brings to the position more than 30 years of experience in business, including stints at Unilever and Fletcher Challenge, and has an extensive relationship with the University of Auckland, which he joined in 2000 as the commercial director of University of Auckland Developments.

Geoff is known as a pioneering legend for his contribution to an innovative and entrepreneurial knowledge economy in New Zealand. He is the founding Director of the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and was the driving force behind a number of initiatives that have impacted the transformation of the Business School, including Spark (now Velocity), Chiasma, the Entrepreneurs’ Challenge and the Icehouse.

Geoff is a mentor to many emerging entrepreneurial and business leaders in New Zealand. In 2017 he was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Business School Entrepreneurs-in-Residence

Mitchell Pham

Mitchell Pham joined the Business School as Entrepreneur-in-Residence in 2018. Mitchell is a Vietnamese-Kiwi business and social entrepreneur. He brings to the position extensive experience in information management, software products and services, sales and marketing, international operations, integrated health-disability-social services, strategy development, collaborative partnerships and strategic growth through innovation.

Mitchell is Chairman of the New Zealand Asia Institute Strategic Advisory Board, Co-founder, Director and Head of Sales and Marketing of the Augen Software Group in New Zealand, as well as Chairman and Director of their operation in Vietnam.

Mitchell is actively involved in FinTech, HealthTech and Blockchain, as well as other areas in the tech sector. He serves as Chair of the NZ Technology Industry Association (NZTech) and the NZ Financial Technology Innovation Association (FinTechNZ). Internationally, he is recognised for leadership, as an Asia 21 Fellow of the Asia Society, and a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.

Randy Komisar

Randy Komisar is a prominent business leader and investor, holding many significant roles including Senior Counsel for Apple Computer, Co-founder of Claris, Founding Director of TiVo, and General Partner at Kleiner Perkins.

Randy is a lecturer on entrepreneurship at Stanford University, and the author of four books about entrepreneurship.

Randy has been contributing to the New Zealand entrepreneurial ecosystem for several years, including as a Special Advisor to the government’s venture capital provider NZGCP (formally NZVIF), on the Board of Advisors for Movac, and a Strategic Advisor to Vector.

Adjunct Professors

Peter Lee

Dr Peter Lee teaches the staff of numerous New Zealand companies and government agencies how to increase the revenues and profits from new products as part of the MBA course at the University of Auckland. Companies benefit from analysis and advice for new product and venture investments by involving Peter either as a director, consultant or member of the advisory boards.

Peter has thirty years of commercial experience in senior roles in US business including VP of R&D at International Paper Company for 15 years, and he also serves as Chief Defence Technologist for New Zealand

Jonathan Mason

Jonathan Mason has 30 years of experience in financial management roles in the oil, chemicals, forest products and dairy industries. Mr Mason was CFO of Fonterra Co-operative, CFO of Cabot Corporation (a Boston-based chemical company), and CFO of Carter Holt Harvey. Mr Mason also served in senior financial management positions at US based International Paper from 1990-2000.

Jonathan is currently a director of Air New Zealand, Vector Limited and Zespri and an Honorary Adjunct Professor in the Department of Accounting and Finance at the University of Auckland Business School.

Tom Peters

Tom Peters first gained worldwide attention with his ground-breaking 1982 bestseller In Search of Excellence, co-written with Robert Waterman, and today is acknowledged as one of the 100 most influential figures in modern business. He continues to be in constant demand for lectures and seminars and in 2017 received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Thinkers50.

Tom studied civil engineering at Cornell University (BCE, MCE), followed by an MBA and PhD in business at Stanford, and spent his early career in the US Navy, at the White House, and at McKinsey & Company, where he became a partner before leaving to set up his own consulting practice. Sixteen books and 35 years later, he has been instrumental in shaping management thinking through his work as a consultant, writer, columnist and public speaker.

The impact of his work has led to honorary doctorates from institutions including the University of San Francisco and the State University of Management in Moscow, and dozens of associations in management, leadership, innovation, marketing and design have honoured him.

Learn more about Tom Peters