by Divina Paredes

Air New Zealand starts global search for new chief digital officer

Sep 20, 2018

Air New Zealand is conducting a global search to identify a new chief digital officer.

Avi Golan is returning to the United States at the end of October after nearly three years as the airline’s first chief digital officer.

In a statement, Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon says Golan “will leave a significant legacy when he heads back to the United States.

“He has implemented a digital strategy that is the envy of many airlines globally and most New Zealand companies.”

He says Golan was “a fierce advocate for the role digital can play in ensuring that Air New Zealand can compete and innovate within the broader travel sector. His team has delivered numerous wins that have enhanced the customer experience, delivered incremental revenue, strengthened operational performance and made our systems more secure from cyber threats.”

Golan joined Air New Zealand in January 2016 from Intuit Small Business Group, where he was GM vice president.

Prior to Air New Zealand, Golan was based in Silicon Valley for 18 years, working in a range of startups and technology companies, including Google, Siemens and Nook.

Avi Golan

Air New Zealand noted at that time that it was one of the first Kiwi companies to recognise the importance of digital by appointing one of the first chief digital officers and elevating this role to report directly to the CEO.

Previously, the ICT team at Air New Zealand was headed by CIOJulia Raue, who reported to the CFO.

“I was attracted to the airline because of its long history of innovation and its desire to become a leading organisation in the digital space,” says Golan, in the 2018 CIO100, where he was ranked number one on the list of the country’s most innovative and transformative CIOs, CDOs and CTOs.

“Air New Zealand has since been on this journey to embrace digital as key definer of the airline’s future success.”

Golan says he and the digital leadership team work to increase understanding and awareness of digital with the Board, executive and other senior leaders.

He organised the board and executive members to visit leading digital organisations in Silicon Valley, including Apple, Facebook, Buzzfeed and Google.