by Sarah Putt

New Zealand CIO community celebrated in CIO50

Oct 13, 2020
IT Leadership

The 2020 awards highlight the transformation, disruption, and acceleration of business led by Kiwi CIOs.

Transformation, disruption, acceleration. Three words that describe the experiences of IT leaders in 2020 and which came to the fore during CIO50 New Zealand, a celebration and acknowledgement of the New Zealand CIO community.

Watercare chief digital officer Rebecca Chenery took the No. 1 spot in the CIO50 New Zealand awards, in recognition of her work leading a major transformation programme. This involved the replacement of legacy systems across finance, operations, asset management, infrastructure, customers, human resources, and health and safety.

The judges commented that the transformation was a “a massive list of KPIs, all of which were completed. This was a large-scale transformation programme, and the impact is apparent after two years. Chenery presents regularly to the board, is strategic business leader, and has demonstrated standout leadership.”

The CIO50, which was held as a virtual event, was originally intended to be announced in March 2020, but was delayed due to the COVID-19 lockdowns. To capture the changes undertaken during the past six months, CIOs in the top ten provided snapshots of their experiences during the CIO50 event.

Chenery noted that during the early stages of the first lockdown, the “scaffolding that supports the business”—such as its business processes, policies, and rules—were soon rendered redundant and they were forced to relied more heavily of the skills and agility their people.

“We were lucky that having come off a two-year transformation where we had the benefit of developing and instilling new ways of working across our teams, and we had plenty of resilience that comes from large programmes of change. That set us up well to cope with the unknowns of COVID,” she says.

The challenge for Chenery and her team now is to make the most of the positive lessons learned during COVID-19. “The question is how do we embed the gold and find a new normal operating rhythm.”

Fulton Hogan group CIO Brian Northern placed second in the CIO50, having delivered on a remit of continuous transformation through digital and other emerging technologies. Leveraging existing tech investments and simplifying deployments are keys to his success, as is effective communication with senior management and the wider company.

Rounding out the top three is Mainfreight CIO Kevin Drinkwater, who continues to demonstrate how digital innovation, when carried out effectively, can really drive a complex business to deliver outstanding results. In the past year, his team has delivered Maintel, Mainfreight’s global business intelligence product, and upgraded Freman, used by the company’s New Zealand and Australian customers as their freight management system.

The other technology leaders be named in the CIO50 top ten are:

  • Thomas Hyde, Beca
  • Pete Yates, Entrada Travel Group
  • Roger Jones, Auckland Transport
  • Jennifer Sepull, Air New Zealand
  • Richard Kay, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise
  • Mark Leadbetter, House of Travel
  • Shayne Tong, Auckland District Health Board

Their full profiles and achievements, along with all the IT leaders featured in this year’s CIO50, are found in our special CIO50 New Zealand Awards section.

The ICT-Enabled Community Project Award went to Clearpoint, for a solution which used to open source tools to deliver Christmas gifts to children. According to the judges, “this project made a direct contribution to the community by automating a complex manual process, proving that simple solutions can have significant impact.”

CIO New Zealand congratulates all those who feature in this year’s CIO50. We also thank everyone who contributed entries, our dedicated judging panel, and our partner for the awards programme, DxC.