Champions for Change set to revolutionise New Zealand’s diversity landscape

Media Release: 08 March 2015

Business leaders are joining together on 14 March at the Champions for Change Summit in central Auckland to tackle how to achieve a step-change in diversity in New Zealand’s leadership. Champions for Change is an initiative of Global Women, which acts as its Secretariat.

Champions will agree on priorities and work streams to lift diversity in terms of gender, ethnicity, age and other areas, with a key focus being a commitment to develop a standardised reporting framework.

“Champions for Change recognises that all organisations are at different points in their diversity journey and that historical considerations and operating environments make it even more challenging for some organisations to lift levels of diversity,” said Dame Jenny Shipley, Champions for Change Co-Chair.

“Our Champions are standing up and actively acknowledging that the state of diversity here is simply not good enough and they are serious about forging a better future for New Zealand.”

“Consensus is not always easy to achieve, but the Champions believe strongly that standardised measurement and reporting is needed to accelerate diversity as it goes beyond intent and drives positive behaviours and outcomes,” she added.

A recent survey of New Zealand Champions for Change organisations, conducted by Global Women[1], found that 53% of organisations had a diversity and inclusion strategy in place, or in draft. Yet to date, women make up only 17% of directors, and only 19% of senior management positions in New Zealand[2].

“Our survey has shown we’re making positive strides towards greater diversity of leadership and raising awareness yet we’ve got more to do to realise the improved business performance, economic growth and social prosperity greater diversity delivers,” said Champions for Change co-chair, and CEO of BNZ, Anthony Healy.

The Champions for Change Summit aims to ignite real and tangible changes in areas such as measurement and accountability; growing talent pools and mainstreaming flexibility.

Some positive steps forward have been made, with more than half of Champions for Change organisations surveyed investing in specialist training of their Human Resource staff to better manage recruitment practices, including policies around new appointments, progression pathways and translation of advertisements into different languages.

Diversity is good for business. It unleashes wider talent pools, diverse thinking, greater innovation, improved decision-making and ultimately better returns for shareholders.

Research from McKinsey & Company[3] highlights that companies that rank in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians and Goldman Sachs predicted in 2011 New Zealand’s GDP would increase by 10 percent by closing the gap between men and women.

Truly diverse and inclusive leadership takes into account age, ethnicity and gender. Being home to the largest Pacific Island population in the world, the growing Māori economy and Asian population is creating an increasingly culturally diverse New Zealand which brings further opportunities.

“Capturing the value of diversity will become increasingly more important as New Zealand’s marketplace globalises to ensure our competitive edge” Mr Healy said.


Survey of Champions for Change members, February 2016:

  • 53% of organisations surveyed stated they have a Diversity & Inclusion strategy either in place or in draft, and almost all have implemented initiatives to promote diversity across their business.
  • 85% use external research to inform policies and decision making around diversity and inclusion, and just under half (47%) are commissioning their own primary research, either in-house or through commissioning suppliers.
  • Almost two-thirds (65%) of respondents confirmed they had entered into partnerships with external organisations as a part of their D&I strategy – with Global Women, EEO Trust, DiverseNZ, and Rainbow Tick featuring prominently.
  • 53% of those surveyed have invested in specialist training of Human Resource staff.


Champions for Change Include:

First Name Surname Position Organisation
Mark Adamson CEO Fletcher Building
Dennis Barnes CEO Contact Energy





CEO Commences March 2016

Saatchi & Saatchi





CEO Commences May 2016

Genesis Energy
Mike Bush Commissioner NZ Police
Barbara Chapman CEO ASB
Mai Chen Managing Partner Chen Palmer Public and Employment Law Specialists
Peter Chrisp CEO NZTE
Tony Gibson CEO Ports of Auckland
Chris Gordon Partner & Chairman Bell Gully
Bruce Hassall CEO PwC
Anthony Healy CEO BNZ
Paul Herrod CEO KPMG
Kevin Kenrick CEO TVNZ
David Hisco CEO ANZ
Robert Jones CEO Fulton Hogan
Rob Lee MD IBM
Adrian Littlewood CEO Auckland International Airport
Christopher Luxon CEO Air New Zealand
Gabriel Makhlouf Secretary & Chief Executive Treasury
Hon Steve Maharey Vice-Chancellor Massey University
Gary McDiarmid CEO Russell McVeagh
David McLean CEO Westpac
Nigel Morrison CEO SKYCITY
Gráinne Moss Managing Director Bupa
Simon Moutter CEO Spark
Sarah Naude Principal Consultant Propero Consulting
Sir Ralph Norris Chair Fletcher Building
Simon O’Connor NZ Managing Partner, NZ Assurance Leader EY
Craig Olsen CEO IAG
Kirsten Patterson NZ Country Head Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand
Professor Geoff Perry Pro Vice-Chancellor & Dean AUT Business & Law Faculty
Scott Pickering CEO ACC






David Pralong MD McKinsey & Company
Cathy Quinn Chair Minter Ellison Rudd Watts
Mark Ratcliffe CEO Chorus
Brian Roche CEO NZ Post
Mark Rushworth CEO Paymark
Sue Sheldon Chair Global Women
Dame Jenny Shipley Chair Genesis Energy
Theo Spierings CEO Fonterra
Matt Stanley Principal Consultant Propero Consulting
Anna Stove General Manager NZ GSK
Steve Tew CEO New Zealand Rugby
Nick Thomas General Manager NZ UGL Limited
Simon Tong Managing Director Fairfax Media
Stephen Town CEO Auckland Council
Mark Verbiest Chair Spark
Jason Walker Managing Director Hays


[1]Global Women Diversity & Inclusion Survey of Champions for Change members, February 2016

[2] NZX Limited ‘Gender Diversity 4th Quarter 2015 and Annual Statistics