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Executive

Ian Simpson

Chief Executive
Ian Simpson
BSc (Mathematics) (University of Manchester), MBA (INSEAD, France)
Ian joined GNS Science in January 2017. Prior to his appointment Ian spent seven years as the head of the Earthquake Commission (EQC). After holding corporate finance roles with BP plc and Diageo plc, Ian emigrated from Britain in 2006 as GM of Finance at ACC. He has a BSc (Mathematics) from Manchester University and an MBA from INSEAD, France.”

Peter Benfell

General Manager, Science
Peter Benfell
BE (Hons) (University of Auckland), DipBusAdmin (Victoria University of Wellington)
Peter began in his role of leading and managing staff within the Science Group in October 2018. He has additional responsibility for the strategic direction of the science programmes. Peter has worked at GNS Science before – from 1998 until 2001 he was GM, Environment and Natural Resources Group. He has had more than 30 years’ experience in research, science and technology and its successful application, as well as in establishing several major R&D partnerships. Peter has held senior management roles at FORST, AgResearch and Opus International, and was the Chief Executive at Connexis.

Gary Wilson

General Manager, Strategy & Chief Scientist
Gary Wilson
BSc (HONS), BMus, PhD (Victoria University of Wellington)
Gary rejoined GNS Science in May 2019. He was a FRST Fellow at GNS Science in 1997-1998. In the meantime, he has held academic positions at the University of Oxford and University of Otago, where he is still an Honorary Professor in Marine Science. Prior to 1997, he was the Byrd Fellow at The Ohio State University. He has also been a Blaustein Visiting Professor to Stanford University. His research interests range from the use of Paleomagnetic methods to understand the evolution and deformation of the surface of the Earth to climate, ocean and ice sheet history through sediment cores recovered from the sea floor and beneath Antarctica’s ice shelves. He has published more than 110 scientific papers in scholarly Journals and led a number of international research programmes. He has served as editor of a number of international journals and is currently Vice-President of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR), Chair of the Royal Society Te Apārangi Committee on Antarctic Sciences, and a Trustee of the Sir Peter Blake Trust who also bestowed a leadership award on him in 2006 for his role in international research.

Greg Holland

Acting General Manager, Stakeholder Relations
Greg Holland
BSc (University of Auckland), MSc (University of Auckland) Dip Bus Admin (University of Auckland)
Greg joined GNS Science in 2016 with a background in geothermal and engineering geology. Prior to joining GNS Science, Greg oversaw environmental strategy and monitoring at Auckland Council across the physical environmental domains of air, land, water, climate change, biodiversity and natural hazards. Earlier roles included working as a consultant engineering geologist focusing on geology, hydrogeology and structural geotechnical engineering, and working in investment banking on the financial instruments and structures required for multinational engineering consultancies and mining conglomerates.

Greg leads the strategic direction of the Stakeholder Relations Group, which develops stakeholder and contestable research strategies, maximises business opportunities aligned to our strategic science direction, and explores opportunities for the intellectual property developed by GNS.

Andrew Simpson

General Manager, Business Services 
Andrew Simpson
BCom (Otago), CA
Andrew Simpson joined GNS Science in July 2019. Andrew previously held executive roles in the global higher education space and brings over 30 years of leadership experience to the role. Most recently, Mr. Simpson was Vice President for Finance and Operations at the University of British Columbia. Prior to that, he served as Chief Operating Officer at Victoria University of Wellington and Vice Principal of Operations and Finance at Queen’s University. In these roles, Andrew has been responsible for a variety of financial and administrative units, including finance, treasury, information technology, property and facilities, student residences, internal audit, risk management, human resources, marketing and communications, and planning and information management.

Tania Gerrard

General Manager Maori Strategy and Partnerships
Tania Gerrard
Te Whanau a Tāpuhi, Ngāti Porou
BA (University of Otago)
Tania joined GNS Science in November 2018 after more than four years with the Ministry for the Environment. Tania’s previous role at the Ministry was Acting Director of Water, though holding roles specialising in iwi rights and interests, and water rights and interests. Her earlier roles included registrar/operations manager at the Waitangi Tribunal and Negotiations Manager with the Office of Treaty Settlements, and Senior Policy Analyst with the Ministry for Primary Industries/Fisheries. Her responsibilities include providing strategic advice and guidance to the Executive Leadership Team and to lead Vision Mātauranga activities across the organisation. Tania is currently the Chair of Te Ara Pūtaiao (Crown Research Institute Maori Leadership Group).

Rose Macfarlane

General Manager, People and Culture
Rose Macfarlane
Post Graduate Diploma in Management Studies, Waikato University
Dip. Business Studies, Massey University
Rose was appointed General Manager of the Human Resources, Communications, Health and Safety and Administration departments in 2018. She oversees the full range of functions of these departments. Prior to taking this role, she was GM, Human Resources at Dairy New Zealand. She has also held positions as Human Resources Manager at Hamilton City Council and the Waikato District Health Board. She is experienced in managing change, understanding the challenges of differing business environments and dealing with a broad range of organisational culture and people matters.