Our Board

3180 Lloyd Homer GNS Science

As a CRI, we operate as a limited liability company and we are governed by an independent Board of Directors.

Our Board Members

  • David Smol - Chair

    David Smol – Chair

    David brings a wealth of experience to the GNS Science Board. He has spent the past 35 years working with businesses and governments to deliver commercial and social projects, including housing, urban and economic development, tourism, science system management, natural hazards and resilience, and resource management reform.

    David has a deep understanding of the science ecosystem in New Zealand and has served as Chair of the GeoNet Advisory Panel. He was appointed as the inaugural Chief Executive of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, where he was responsible for the stewardship of multiple regulatory systems. He is also a stalwart of the energy sector, both here and in the UK, where he has contributed to the development of its infrastructure, regulation, and sustainability. David is a Director of Contact Energy, Waka Kotahi, and the Cooperative Bank, and Chair of Wellington UniVentures – the commercialisation subsidiary of Te Herenga Waka – Victoria University of Wellington. He was made a Companion of the Queen’s Service Order in 2018.

  • Paul White

    Paul White
    B Arch, MBS

    Paul is from the Ngāi Tūpoto hapu- of Te Rarawa iwi and has had a 30-year background in Māori development and governance, and wide experience in the public service. He is currently a management and development consultant and professional director and lives in Rawene in the Far North.

    Over the past 20 years, Paul has served on the boards of Housing New Zealand, Canterbury District Health Board, FITEC, Health Sponsorship Council, Top Energy and the asset holding group of Te Rarawa Iwi. He is currently on the Executive of Te Matapihi – a national Māori housing body, and Heritage NZ’s  Council.

    Previously Paul was the Chief Executive of Ngāi Tahu Development Corporation, Regional Director for Te Puni Kōkiri in Te Tai Tokerau, and Regional Manager for the Housing Corporation in Northland.

  • Felicity Evans

    Felicity Evans
    Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD)

    Felicity has more than 25 years' experience in the finance industry, including in retail and commercial banking and human resources. 

    She was formerly the General Manager Talent and Culture for ANZ New Zealand and Pacific. She is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, a Chartered member of NZ Institute of Directors, an Associate of the Bankers’ Institute of New Zealand, a former Trustee of Diversity Works, and a former Director of Global Women NZ.

  • Andrew Cordner

    Andrew Cordner
    LL.B (Hons); LL.M; B.Com

    Andrew is Director of Legal at Fonterra. In this role, Andrew serves as Fonterra’s General Counsel and leads the highly experienced Fonterra Global Legal Team, with lawyers based in New Zealand, Australia, China, Chile, the Netherlands, the United States, and Brazil. 

    Andrew also serves as Company Secretary to the NZX-listed Fonterra Shareholders’ Fund (NZX:FSF). 

    Prior to joining Fonterra in 2007, Andrew was a partner at Foley Hoag LLP, a leading US corporate law firm, specialising in corporate and commercial advisory work, venture capital, bankruptcy, intellectual property, mergers and acquisitions, securities law, and international transactions.

    He has a LL.B (Hons) and B.Com from Canterbury University and an LL.M from Duke University School of Law.  Andrew is currently a member of the NZ Law Society’s National Standards Committee, which investigates and considers complaints that are sufficiently major, complex or of public interest or importance to the NZ legal profession. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees of St Andrew's Village, a large, aged care charitable trust.

  • Wendy Venter

    Wendy Venter
    FCA, MInstD

    Wendy is a board director and independent consultant with expertise in governance, risk management, organisational change and assurance. She is a former partner at EY, deputy chief executive at the Ministry of Social Development and assistant auditor general.

    Wendy is a director of Plant and Food Research and a trustee of Wellington’s Nikau Foundation. She is an independent member of the Treasury’s Audit Committee for the Government Financial Statements, and she chairs the risk and assurance committees of Stats NZ and the Parliamentary Counsel Office.

    Wendy is a Fellow of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand.

  • Livia Esterhazy

    Livia Esterhazy
    Livia has been a strategic business leader for much of her career across various sectors. She spent many years working in Marketing, Communications, and Advertising, including in agencies such as Clemenger BBDO, The Assignment Group, Saatchi & Saatchi, and Ogilvy. She has led brands including Kiwibank and Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

    Livia has experience working in and around science, including five and a half years as CEO of WWF New Zealand. She is now the Programme Director of Lighter Touch, a programme working directly with New Zealand food growers to enable a sustainable approach in industry, and founder of The Thrive Collective, a nutritional science driven, health and wellness coaching business.

  • Brian Young

    Brian Young
    Brian Young is a neuroscientist, with extensive experience in science leadership and diplomacy. Brian began his career with a BSc (Hon) degree in psychology at the University of Canterbury, followed by PhD study in behavioural neuroscience at Dartmouth College (USA). He held subsequent research positions in the USA, at UNC-Chapel Hill and SUNY-Stony Brook, and in New Zealand.

    Brian held a diplomatic posting as the inaugural Science & Technology Counsellor in the New Zealand Embassy (Washington DC). Following this he was Director, Research at the University of Otago, and the Director of the Defence Technology Agency. He is currently the Chief Executive of International Accreditation New Zealand (IANZ). Brian has nearly a decade of governance experience, representing New Zealand on several international defence science and technology boards.

The governance structure for all CRIs is the same — shareholding ministers appoint CRI boards of directors, who in turn appoint the chief executive in accordance with the Companies Act and the constitutions of each CRI. 

As a CRI, we operate as a limited liability company and we are governed by an independent Board of Directors. This structure allows us to:

  • focus on strategically important science at a national level
  • engage in the full spectrum of science, from basic research through to product development
  • undertake work for both the public and private sectors
  • operate internationally as well as within New Zealand
  • have autonomy, self-determination and financial independence
  • All of New Zealand’s CRIs have 2 shareholding ministers, the Minister of Science and Innovation and the Minister of Finance.

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