Advisory Board membership

The Advisory Board draws its members from sectors working directly or indirectly with Government, the higher Courts, and leading business and industry groups.

Peter Stevens - Chairman


Dr Peter Stevens has been Chief Executive of standards agency GS1 New Zealand since January 2004. Before joining GS1, Peter had a successful career spanning academic, commercial and public sector environments, with his most recent role as Senior Manager in the Strategy, Business Transformation group and member of the BearingPoint New Zealand management team.

Peter was previously a Senior Lecturer in high technology marketing at Victoria University of Wellington, and market-development specialist for Apple Computer. From 2000-2003 Peter served as an Adjunct Professor at Unitec Institute of Technology in the Department of Information Systems Computing. He has a PhD in Science and post-graduate qualifications in Marketing.

Ian O. Williamson


Professor Ian O. Williamson commenced his role as Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Dean of Commerce at Victoria Business School (Faculty of Commerce) in June 2017. Ian joined Victoria University from the Melbourne Business School (Australia), bringing with him 17 years' experience in the tertiary sector across teaching, research and management. Putting theory into practice through his consultancy work has allowed him to work in 25 countries, including New Zealand where he has engaged with New Zealand businesses such as Kiwibank and Fletcher Building.

Please visit his staff profile page to learn about his areas of responsibilities and interests.

Ian Clarke

Ian Clarke

Ian Clarke is the CEO at ADInstruments Ltd, a data acquisition and analysis systems for research and teaching in the life and physical sciences. and has broad business experience in the gas, agriculture, broadcasting and television production industries.

He has an MBA from Otago University and a diverse background including farming and general management, and operational experience among major New Zealand corporates.

Souella Cumming

Souella Cumming, VBS Advisory Board member.

Souella Cumming is a partner in KPMG New Zealand’s Advisory practice and has over 30 years’ experience in providing governance, risk management, assurance, project advisory and internal audit services to a range of public and private sector clients in New Zealand and overseas.

She works extensively with Audit and Risk Committees providing good practice advice, and assurance to Committees on governance, risk management and internal audit activity, with clients in the financial services, insurance, education, energy, health, justice and social services sectors.

Souella has a BCA from Victoria University of Wellington and is a chartered accountant and certified risk management professional. She is an independent member of the Order of St John in New Zealand, and chair the St John Risk and Audit Committee; a Board Member, Zonta International New Zealand, and Immediate Past Chair of the Zonta International Finance Committee; a member of Women Corporate Directors New Zealand chapter; and a member of Global Women.

Vanisa Dhiru


Vanisa is President of the National Council of Women New Zealand, is a member of the Asia New Zealand Leadership Network, and is the only New Zealander represented in the BMW Foundation Responsible Leaders Global Network.

During her recent working career, she has been in CEO-level roles within the not-for-profit sector, including CEO of Volunteering New Zealand, and Executive Director of the 2020 Trust. She has served on several charity boards including Inspiring Stories Trust, Dress for Success Wellington and the YWCA; and is an advisor to various government departments representing the NGO sector.

Kevin Lavery

Kevin Lavery

Kevin Lavery is the Chief Executive of Wellington city Council. He joined the City Council in March 2013. Kevin began his career in English local government. This included CEO roles at the city of Newcastle Upon Tyne and Cornwall Council. Kevin has also worked for a range of private sector organisations – a consultant with Price Waterhouse, a MD with BT and Enterprise PLC and CEO roles at Agilisys and Serco.

Kevin has held non-executive positions with English Housing Corporation, Northumbria University and the Prince’s Trust for Yorkshire and Humberside. He is also Vice President of the Society of Local Government Managers.

Steve O'Connor

Steve O'Connor

Steve O’Connor is the founder and CEO of Flick Electric. Prior to establishing Flick, Steve was CEO of Wellington’s business incubator Creative HQ and Lightning Lab, a national business accelerator. He has considerable experience in technology-based growth businesses, from startups through to corporate innovation both in New Zealand and in offshore markets including Europe and North America.

Steve has a BSc and BCA from Victoria University and is a passionate Wellingtonian. He is active in mentoring to help build and support entrepreneurial talent and business in the Wellington community.

Carolyn Tremain

Carolyn Tremain, Chief Executive and Comptroller of Customs

Carolyn Tremain has over 20 years' experience leading large, complex service delivery organisations, and substantial change management programmes. She is currently the Chief Executive of the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE).

Carolyn came to MBIE from the NZ Customs Service, where she was the Chief Executive and Comptroller. Prior to joining Customs in 2011, Carolyn held the roles of Deputy Commissioner Service Delivery and Deputy Commissioner People, Capabilities, and Governance at Inland Revenue, and earlier in her career worked for Air New Zealand where she was head of the Human Resources and Organisational Change for the Air New Zealand Group.

She is a graduate of Victoria University, with a Bachelor of Arts.

Fiona Ross

Fiona Ross

Fiona Ross has over 20 years’ experience in the public service, with particular expertise in state sector reform. After initial positions at the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Women's Affairs, Fiona joined the Treasury as a senior policy analyst in 2000 before moving to the UK where she held various roles in the civil service, including leading major change initiatives focused on efficiency gains and service improvements. Fiona returned to The Treasury to lead the Better Public Services Programme, the government's flagship programme to improve outcomes for New Zealanders. Fiona is currently the Director of the Joint Venture, Family Violence and Domestic Violence, a whole-of-government initiative to combat family and domestic violence in New Zealand.

Fiona holds an Honours degree in Arts and a Master's degree in Public Policy, both from Victoria University of Wellington. She has been actively involved with a number of not-for-profit groups focused on the issues of sexual abuse, and women’s sport and fitness.

Vic Crone

Vic Crone

Vic came on board as Chief Executive with Callaghan Innovation in March 2017. She has significant executive and governance experience in technology and innovation. She brings a strong customer focus, and a track record of leading and implementing strategy, and building organisational culture.

Vic was previously the Managing Director of Xero, NZ and New Markets, following executive roles at Chorus and Telecom New Zealand. She has been an Independent Director on the Boards of a number of companies and organisations in the technology sector, including RedShield, Figure.NZ, Creative HQ and the Hi-Tech Trust.

Liz Mellish MNZM

Liz Mellish MNZM

Liz is the current Chairman of the Palmerston North Maori Reserve Trust a trust formed formally in 1866 to administer Maori lands in Palmerston North which was provided in compensation for lands taken from the whanau of Waiwhetu Pa in Petone.

Liz is also a Trustee on Te Wharewaka o Poneke and a Director on Te Wharewaka O Poneke Enterprises Ltd which manages the business within the building with a strong focus on the tourism development.

Liz has other Directorships including, Metlifecare Palmerston North, Haukawakawa Ltd, Palmerston North Maori Reserve Corporate Trustee Ltd and Hikoikoi Management Ltd

Liz is the Deputy Chairman of the Federation of Maori Authorities, a Board member of Te Kaunihera Maori o Te Pouhere Toanga, and Trustee of Ngahuru Charitable Trust.

Community roles include, Lion Foundation Grants Committee member, Card Reserve Artificial Surface Trust Chairman, Booktown Featherston Trustee, Anzac Club Featherston President, and Chairman of the Matiu/Somes Charitable Trust.

Paul Healy (corresponding member)


Paul Healy joined Harvard Business School in 1997 and is currently the James R. Williston Professorship of Business Administration, and Chair of the Accounting Management unit.

He received his BCA Honors (1st Class) in Accounting and Finance from Victoria University, New Zealand in 1977, his Masters in Economics from the University of Rochester in 1981, his PhD in Business from the University of Rochester in 1983, and is a New Zealand ACA. Prior to joining Harvard, Paul was on the faculty at the M.I.T. Sloan School of Management, where he received awards for teaching excellence in 1991, 1992, and 1997.

His research focuses on equity research, financial reporting and disclosure, corporate governance, mergers and acquisitions, and managerial compensation, and he has been published in leading journals in accounting and finance.

Paul was invited as an international corresponding member in April 2009.

James McArthur (corresponding member)


James McArthur is a seasoned veteran of the global luxury goods business, based in the UK for the past 28 years but with his heart still very much attached to his New Zealand, Wellington and Victoria roots. He is involved with the development of a number of fashion and retailing businesses operating worldwide, as manager, shareholder and as mentor through the British Fashion Council. He has served as CEO for Anya Hindmarch, Harrods, Balenciaga and Yves St Laurent, and has served on the Boards of the Bottega Veneta, Boucheron, Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen businesses while he guided the strategic development of Gucci Group (now part of the Kering Group) from 2000.

James came to the luxury business through a 12-year career in investment banking with Morgan Stanley, primarily in Europe. He joined the Reserve Bank of New Zealand as a monetary economist following graduation from VUW with BCA (1st Class Hons) in 1981, then headed to Harvard Business School where he received his MBA in 1987.

Professor Grant Guilford (ex-officio member)

Professor Grant Guilford

As Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University, Professor Grant Guilford is both the administrative and academic head of the University. He is responsible for ensuring that the University carries out its statutory and contractual functions in teaching, research and community service.

Grant was previously the Dean of the Faculty of Sciences at the University of Auckland, and has BPhil and BVSc degrees from Massey University and a PhD in Nutrition from the University of California, Davis.