Accelerate - March 2014

Executive appointments

Our executive leadership team is now complete with the appointments of Chris Samogyi as General Manager Accelerator Services and Hemi Rolleston as General Manager Maori Economy.

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Chris Somogyi - General Manager Accelerator Services

Accelerator Services will assist firms with identifying the issues constraining their growth, developing their growth strategies, linking them to the resources and talent they need, evaluating their eligibility for R&D grants and administering grants provided.

Chris joined us from Seattle. He comes from a background of starting businesses from scratch and possesses broad and far-reaching experience with a range of organisations including most recently Etaphase Inc (a spin out from Princeton University), Auxin Partners, Intellectual Ventures, Riverbridge Capital and Healionics Corporation. He is highly entrepreneurial and has relevant experience in many of the sectors that feature heavily in New Zealand’s innovation space.

Chris holds a BSE (Biomedical Engineering) from Purdue University, an MS (Biomedical Engineering) from Tulane University and an MBA from the University of Washington. During the course of his career he has been a venture capitalist, has developed concepts into market-ready products, and has a strong track record in business development. He has led large teams and had responsibility for investment portfolios of over US$150m. Chris has also been a private equity investor and has invested in high-tech companies in the biotech, medical devices and software sectors. He has worked globally in different cultures and has been exposed to alternative ways of doing business. This includes his roles as Country Head, Australia and New Zealand and Senior Strategist while at private equity firm Intellectual Ventures. Chris has travelled to New Zealand many times and has developed affection for the country and its people.

Chris will be primarily located in the Quay Street office in Auckland.

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Hemi Rolleston - General Manager Māori Economy

Callaghan Innovation is actively supporting and addressing the needs of Māori business to grow and be competitive in the global market. The key pou or pillars of our strategy for the Māori economy are leadership, strategic partnerships and supporting Māori businesses.

Hemi comes to us from Te Awanui Huka Pak Limited where he has been the Chief Executive since 2006. Te Awanui Huka Pak is a 100 per cent Māori-owned kiwifruit business with $30m in assets and over $300m in shareholder value. It won the TVNZ Māori Business of the Year Award in 2012. In the same year, Hemi was the recipient of the Bay of Plenty Export Achiever Award.

Before this, Hemi held a range of senior roles with Waikato University as Māori Liaison Officer (2005) and Tauranga District Council (1995–2002) as a Māori Land Officer and the Revenue Manager. Hemi also has sound governance experience in a range of Māori and economic development organisations, including Te Awanui Huka Pak Co-operative, Priority One, Community Growth Limited, Bay of Connections and Grow Rotorua. Hemi will be Wellington-based and has iwi affiliations to Te Arawa, Ngati Ranginui, and Ngai te Rangi.

For more information, see Our Executive Leadership Team.

Updated: 7 September 2015