CEO letter:

Looking forward to turning 30

Kirsten (KP) Patterson

A significant milestone birthday is usually a time to reflect, and the IoD is no different; in 2019 the IoD will celebrate 30 years. Although there was previously a New Zealand branch of the UK IoD operating for a number of years, it was in 1989 that that IoD as we know it today was formed as an independent body.

During 2019 we will take the opportunity to reflect on governance over the past 30 years and what the next 30 years may hold, starting in this edition with an interview with our first Executive Director/Chief Executive of the IoD, Geoffrey Bowes. Respecting and honouring our heritage is an important part of ensuring strong foundations for the future. We are merely the guardians of today and we have all benefitted from the foresight of the early IoD champions. As Warren Buffet said: “Someone's sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” 

As you’re sitting in the shade over the summer holidays, you will no doubt be doing some reflecting of your own about the year passed, and the challenges and opportunities ahead in 2019. We know that IoD members will be thinking about wider issues beyond just the individual firms they support.

Results from the inaugural Global Network of Directors Institutes Survey showed New Zealand directors are significantly more concerned about social and economic issues than their global peers. Eighty percent of New Zealand directors identified housing as our most significant social and economic issue compared to only 34% globally. Poverty and income inequality was rated second highest at 67% contrasting with 45% globally.

In the event that you have depleted your reading pile and you are looking for inspiration for quiet reflection or to kick-off a debate at the summer BBQ, you might like to consider the questions that the Prime Minister’s Business Council will be contemplating.

The purpose of the Council is to provide high-level free and frank advice to the Prime Minister on policies that directly affect business, to harness the expertise of the private sector to inform government policy, and to build closer relationships between government and business. The four priority areas are: building tomorrow’s skills, accelerating our regions, attracting high quality investment and unleashing our SMEs.

Questions the council is debating:

  • How can business practically demonstrate their commitment to ensuring workers in New Zealand are supported to gain new skills and transition into new jobs as the nature of work changes?
  • How can business support the operationalising of micro-crediting and the fees-free learning policy?
  • How can our tertiary institutions support this in the practical way, learning from best-practice models overseas?
  • How can business support SMEs and others within the business community realise the opportunities provided by R&D tax credits?
  • How can New Zealand grow its base of investment capital and ensure Kiwi firms realise their potential?
  • How can NZ attract quality foreign investment in a seamless way?
  • Could the government's investment funds play a more prominent role in investing in NZ infrastructure projects and businesses?
  • What can business do to enhance services in rural and provincial towns?
  • How can government and business work together to unleash the potential of New Zealand's Agritech industry?
  • How can government and business work together to solve regional skills shortages?
  • The best spot in New Zealand to spend the summer holidays while pondering the above. (Oops, that may have been one of mine I added later…)

We’d be interested in your answers and ideas, and there are a number of IoD members on the business council with whom we can share your comments and responses. Send your answers in to The first five answers received will receive some more summer reading – a copy of a book of essays, The Big Questions – What is New Zealand’s Future?

A "birth date" of 1989 technically makes the IoD a millennial, but I wonder how many would see us as the digitally connected, socially minded, globally focused, and entrepreneurial typecast of that generation?

Much also for us to contemplate as we lead into the new year – for us a year of digital transformation – a new CRM, finance system, website, and brand, to ensure we remain relevant to the needs of the governance community for the next 30 years.

Kirsten (KP)

2018 December/January BoardRoom