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Our People

The Council is a group of future-focused thinkers, connectors, and advocates who care passionately about advancing New Zealand’s interests in a strong bilateral relationship with the US. We are fortunate to be well supported by our members via their governance leadership and assistance with the activities of the Council.

The Council operates as an incorporated society with an executive committee and executive director. Executive committee members, including the chair, are elected at our AGM to two-year terms.

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

NZUS Council Chair

Rosemary Banks

Senior diplomat and former ambassador Rosemary Banks was appointed Chair of the NZUS Council in August 2022.

Senior diplomat and former ambassador Rosemary Banks was appointed Chair of the NZUS Council in August 2022.

Rosemary graduated from the University of Canterbury in 1975 with a Master of Arts in Russian and later earned a Master of Science degree from the London School of Economics.

As chair of the Council she brings deep knowledge and experience of New Zealand's international relations, including with the United States where she served as Ambassador from 2018-2022.

Responding to her appointment Rosemary said “I am honoured to have this opportunity to continue to grow the all-important relationship between Aotearoa New Zealand and the US. At this time of rapid change, it is essential that as close partners we understand each other well. The NZUS Council has a crucial role to play in this”.

CEO, Auckland Business Chamber

Simon Bridges

Simon is the CEO of the Auckland Business Chamber, which is heavily focused on international business and trade, including with the United States.

Simon is the CEO of the Auckland Business Chamber, which is heavily focused on international business and trade, including with the United States.

In addition to its work with the NZUS Council, the Chamber hosts the US Business Summit. Simon has a strong personal interest in NZ US relations, and has been a frequent visitor to the States in the past as a leading New Zealand politician as well as more recently.

CEO, Beef + Lamb New Zealand

Sam McIvor

Sam McIvor has been a Board member on the NZUS Business Council since 2017.
As CEO of Beef + Lamb New Zealand and the NZMeat Board the US market ..

Sam McIvor has been a Board member on the NZUS Business Council since 2017.

As CEO of Beef + Lamb New Zealand and the NZMeat Board the US market is massively significant for the industry. In 2022/23 year red meat exports to the US were over $2 billion by far NZ’s biggest exporter into the US. The NZMB is responsible for the allocation of the 213,000 beef and veal quota to the US and charged with ensuring NZ maximises the returns from it.

I see the US as continuing to be a market of opportunity not only for our industry but for New Zealand as a whole, therefore the NZ US Council plays a critical role in facilitating relationships that will continue to grow that relationship and in doing so the wealth and wellbeing of both countries.

NZUS Council Executive Director

Fiona Cooper

Fiona Cooper is Executive Director of the NZUS Council from 1 March 2024, having previously held the role from 2014-18.

Fiona Cooper is Executive Director of the NZUS Council from 1 March 2024, having previously held the role from 2014-18. Her career has included roles in the private and public sectors. Most recently she was New Zealand Director of the Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum.

Her previous roles included Associate Director of the New Zealand International Business Forum, advisor to the APEC Business Advisory Council (NZ), Head of Corporate Affairs at Bank of New Zealand and General Manager for Trade Strategy at Fonterra Cooperative Group and New Zealand Dairy Board.

Her career began at the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade, including a trade policy posting to the New Zealand Embassy in Washington DC, a secondment to Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra, and two secondments to Ministerial offices in the New Zealand Parliament.

General Manager, Trade Strategy, Fonterra Co-operative Group

Justine Arroll

Justine is the General Manager of Trade Strategy at Fonterra, responsible for driving Fonterra’s engagement and advocacy on strategic global trade issues.

Justine is the General Manager of Trade Strategy at Fonterra, responsible for driving Fonterra’s engagement and advocacy on strategic global trade issues.

A former New Zealand diplomat, Justine held a range of trade policy roles in the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade prior to joining Fonterra five years ago, including offshore roles in the US and UK. She has also served as an advisor to the Minister of Trade.

A graduate of the University of Auckland in Arts and Law, Justine has been admitted as a Barrister and Solicitor to the High Court of New Zealand, and has completed studies in international law at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark and Georgetown University in Washington DC.

Executive Director of ExportNZ

Joshua Tan

In his role, Josh works to ensure the export sectors are well-represented in Wellington and advocates for a business environment in which exporters can thrive.

Joshua Tan is the Executive Director of ExportNZ, a division of BusinessNZ - New Zealand’s peak industry body. In his role, Josh works to ensure the export sectors are well represented in Wellington and advocates for a business environment in which exporters can thrive. Josh also works to advocate for New Zealand’s manufacturing sector.

ExportNZ is a peak industry association representing a diverse range of exporters throughout New Zealand. It is a membership organisation and has approximately 2,000 export members around the country. ExportNZ advocates for, inspires, connects, and celebrates New Zealand exporters. The organisation aims to build a thriving ecosystem that supports each other.

Friends of the NZUS Council Chair

Fran O’Sullivan ONZM

Fran O’Sullivan is a founding director of the NZUS Council. Fran led the private sector taskforce which formed the Council in November 2001

Fran O’Sullivan is a founding director of the NZUS Council. Fran led the private sector taskforce which formed the Council in November 2001 on the back of the “Creating Coalitions of Common Interest” summit which she also chaired. She subsequently served as vice-president and in later years, Chair of the Advisory Board.

She has an active interest in New Zealand’s primary external relationships and has participated in all New Zealand leadership forums with the United States, China and Australia.

In 2022, she launched the annual United States Business Summit with the support of the Council. Fran is also a member of the New Zealand China Council and is a former deputy chair of the New Zealand committee of the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council.

Fran has a long association with Apec and was a member of the Apec Business Leadership Group for New Zealand’s successful hosting in 2021 and served on the CEO Summit committee.

She founded a private company, NZ INC. in 2005 to champion business engagement with offshore markets.

Ms O’Sullivan is a New Zealand Herald business columnist, is contracted as Head of Business for NZME, and previously edited the National Business Review.

She was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2019 for services to business and journalism.

Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Air New Zealand

Mat Bolland

Mat Bolland oversees the airline's government relations, regional, cultural and regulatory affairs, and communications functions.

Mat Bolland oversees the airline's government relations, regional, cultural and regulatory affairs, and communications functions.

Joining the airline in May 2021, Mat's corporate affairs career has spanned over 20 years across the energy, water, and telecommunications industries within New Zealand.

Mat’s involvement with the NZUS Council builds on the airline’s links to the US that began almost 30 years ago. Air New Zealand now offers connections into six North American destinations following the successful launch of its first Auckland-New York direct service in September 2022.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Strategic Engagement), University of Auckland

Dr Erik Lithander

Erik joined the NZUS Council in 2022. In his capacity as Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Strategic Engagement) at the University of Auckland, he supports a wide range of institutional

Erik joined the NZUS Council in 2022. In his capacity as Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Strategic Engagement) at the University of Auckland, he supports a wide range of institutional collaborations with leading American universities, ranging from student exchange programmes, research collaboration and teaching partnerships.

The University also has a very significant alumni and donor community in the United States. Together, these links have great potential for contributing to the ambitions of the Council.

Joining the airline in May 2021, Mat's corporate affairs career has spanned over 20 years across the energy, water, and telecommunications industries within New Zealand.

Mat’s involvement with the NZUS Council builds on the airline’s links to the US that began almost 30 years ago. Air New Zealand now offers connections into six North American destinations following the successful launch of its first Auckland-New York direct service in September 2022.