Richard Westlake appointed as Scion Board Chair

Minister for Science, Innovation and Technology Hon Judith Collins KC has appointed Richard Westlake as Chair of the Scion Board, starting 1 July 2024.

He succeeds Dr Helen Anderson whose two terms on the Scion Board ended in June.

Richard will join existing Board members for their first official meeting together in Rotorua on 25 July.He brings more than three decades of leadership and governance experience across a variety of sectors to Scion. He was the establishment Chair for two state-owned enterprises, MetService and Quotable Value, and for six years he served as Deputy Chair at GNS Science. Notable government appointments have included serving as Chair of Better Border Biosecurity, and Standards New Zealand.

His contributions to the private and voluntary sectors are also impressive, having chaired New Zealand Home Loans since 2019 and Hospice New Zealand since 2022. Other roles have included Careerforce Industry Training Organisation, the Dairy Goat Co-operative, Dairy NZ’s predecessor Dexcel Trust, Canterbury Opera and Kiwibank, where he was one of the founding directors.

Richard says he is looking forward to working with Scion’s Board and Executive Management Team to provide guidance during a challenging period in New Zealand’s science sector.

“With the Science System Review underway, I acknowledge the feeling of uncertainty that people working at the coalface are experiencing.

“At the same time, Scion will remain committed to forest research and building on the huge opportunities emerging particularly in industrial biotechnology and advanced manufacturing.

“Working together, we expect that our outstanding team of scientists and those who support them will continue Scion’s mission of driving impactful scientific research and development, to deliver significant benefits for New Zealand in a variety of areas."

New Scion Chair Richard Westlake

Scion chief executive Dr Julian Elder has expressed his enthusiasm for the new Chair appointment.

"We are looking forward to welcoming Richard to Scion and in particular, Te Whare Nui o Tuteata, our headquarters in Rotorua.

“His extensive experience and distinguished track record in governance and leadership of change will be invaluable as we continue to navigate the complexities and opportunities in our sector. Richard’s deep understanding of both the public and private sectors will bring a fresh perspective to our Board and help us drive our strategic objectives forward.”

In addition to his Board roles, Richard has an extensive career history that includes being the Chief Executive and South Island General Manager for Trust Bank Canterbury/Westpac Trust from 1995 to 1999 and holding various banking and merchant banking positions in New Zealand and Australia between 1976 and 1995. Richard’s early career saw him as a fast jet pilot in the Royal Air Force, UK, from 1973 to 1976, demonstrating his diverse and robust leadership background. His affection for aviation continues today as President of the Kāpiti Districts Aero Club.

He owns a governance consultancy that he established over 20 years ago and has worked extensively with the Institute of Directors for much of that time.

Richard will chair a Board made up of existing Scion directors Stana Pezic, Brendon Green (Ngāti Hikairo, Ngāpuhi), Nicole Anderson (Ngāpuhi, Te Roroa, Te Aupōuri), Phil Taylor and Kiriwaitingi Rei-Russell (Te Arawa - Ngati Whakaue, Tūhourangi Ngati Wāhiao, and Ngati Awa - Te Pahipoto), and Future Director Zara Morrison (Ngāti Whakaue, Ngāti Tūwharetoa).