Theresa Gattung

Chair, Global Women

Theresa Gattung is a New Zealand business leader, author, philanthropist and investor. Her best-selling autobiography Bird on a Wire was published in 2010.

Perhaps best known for her role as CEO of Telecom New Zealand, she was the first female CEO of an NZX listed company. Since leaving Telecom, she has divided her time between professional governance, entrepreneurial pursuits, and philanthropic work.

She has held multiple governance positions; Chair of AIA Australia, Chair Telco Technology Services, Chair CoOfWomen, Chair of the Wellington Board of the SPCA and then on the Royal New Zealand SPCA (RNZSPCA) National Board. She is currently Chair of AIA New Zealand, Chair of Global Women and a member of the National Advisory Board on the Employment of Women.

As co-founder of My Food Bag, alongside Cecilia and James Robinson and Nadia Lim and Carlos Bagrie she helped take the start-up to a nationwide company with a turnover of over $130m.

In 2019 she became Chair of Tend, a primary healthcare provider with a mission to put digital healthcare in the hands of all Kiwis.

She is also the New Zealand lead of SheEO, an international community that supports, finances, and celebrates female entrepreneurs.

In 2021 she funded the Theresa Gattung Chair of Women in Entrepreneurship within the University of Auckland Business School and also launched the Gattung Foundation whose main charitable purposes are to support the relief of poverty, the education and advancement of women, Māori and Pasifika to reduce inequality and the care, support and protection of animals.

Theresa is involved with a number of not-for-profit and philanthropic interests, including being on the Global Board of World Pulse, being co-founder of the World Women Charitable Trust and Patron of the Cambodia Charitable Trust. She is a supporter of The Pūriri Education Charitable Trust,Kootuitui ki Papakura, Gandhi Nivas, the Aunties and Amnesty International.

In the 2015 New Year’s Honours List, Theresa was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to business and philanthropy, and in August that year she was inducted into the Marketing Hall of Fame at the TVNZ Marketing Awards. In 2017 she was named the inaugural winner of the NEXT Magazine Lifetime Achievement Award and in September 2018 she was awarded the Lifetime Achievement award at the Westpac Women of Influence Awards. In February 2019 she was inducted into the RNZSPCA Hall of Fame. In 2021 she was inducted into CoOfWomen Hall of Fame and also given the Inaugural NZ Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Pioneer Award for her
trailblazing leadership and empowerment of women by the UN Women Aotearoa New Zealand.

She lives between Auckland and the Bay of Plenty.