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Lester Levy To Head NZ Leadership Institute

Lester Levy To Head New Zealand Leadership Institute

Prominent healthcare sector head Lester Levy has been appointed inaugural Chief Executive of the New Zealand Leadership Institute and an Adjunct Professor in the University of Auckland Business School.

The Leadership Institute, an initiative of The University of Auckland Business School that will have a national focus, was formed in February to harness the energy, ideas and momentum of the Knowledge Wave 2003 Leadership Forum.

The Institute's role is to strengthen leadership research and development in collaboration with business, Government, community and academic institutions.

University of Auckland Vice Chancellor Dr John Hood has welcomed Dr Levy's appointment.

"Dr Levy brings an impressive range of skills to the Institute. Leaders are responsible for turning words into deeds, ideas into actions. We know that leadership is increasingly important for success, be it at an organisational or national level. Yet we still know too little about the qualities and practice of effective leadership."

Professor Barry Spicer, Dean of The University of Auckland Business School adds:

"The Institute is dedicated to building our basic and practical understanding of leadership, and for providing a place for it to flourish. I believe Dr Levy is the right person to help achieve this."

Dr Levy, who has published a successful book on leadership and speaks professionally on the topic, says his decision to leave healthcare after 25 years was a difficult one, "but this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity was too good to miss.

"Leadership - be it in the field of politics, business, education, creative arts or sport is all about achieving better outcomes for people, by creating constructive and positive change and progress. I intend the Leadership Institute to make a real difference to our understanding and development of effective leadership. "

The Institute has been strongly endorsed by corporate leaders, and has already attracted funding from leading law firm Bell Gully.

"Bell Gully is pleased to provide practical assistance for an essential initiative," says Bell Gully Chief Executive Maggie Callicrate.

"As a firm we believe that nurturing leaders in all walks of New Zealand life is critical to the country's future success."

Dr Levy says his interest in leadership issues began while studying history at school and was stimulated as a more embracing concept when he studied for his MBA (at Auckland) in the mid to late 80s.

"I developed a more in-depth interest in leadership, initially reading and researching the topic in more detail. One of my early interests centred on whether there was a difference between leadership and management, which later became the core focus of my book 'Leadership and the Whirlpool Effect'. Later my interests widened to include strategic thinking, change management, motivation and empowerment."

Dr Levy's successful speaking career, which began in the early 90s, focused initially on leadership, change management, teamwork and motivation; however, in recent years these talks now focus exclusively on the topic of leadership.

As Dr Levy's business career evolved, his interests in leadership grew to include governance, the governance/management interface, leadership diversity and management education, particularly with respect to leadership.

"Although I have studied these interests in some depth, I look forward to the opportunity of being involved in formal research to develop a greater understanding of these topics and other leadership-related issues. I would like my own leadership research interests to centre on leadership education, leadership diversity - a subject of great interest and importance to New Zealand - governance and motivation.

Dr Levy, 48, has built an impressive career in the healthcare sector over the past 25 years, alongside active roles in business education and public policy.

His CV includes roles as Chief Executive of South Auckland Health, MercyAscot Private Hospital Group and (most recently) the New Zealand Blood Service, General Manager of the Western Bay of Plenty Area Health Board, Director of Marketing and Sales for a major multinational pharmaceutical company and a secondment to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Dr Levy's governance CV includes roles as Chairman of independent film and television production company Communicado, Chairman of privately held biotechnology firm Diatranz Ltd, Deputy Chairman of Healthcare Holdings Ltd and Chairman of Integrated Hospitals Ltd (which owns and operates private hospitals and day surgery centres in New Zealand) and Chairman of White Cross Group (1998) Ltd as well as a number of Director roles.

Dr Levy's tertiary qualifications include a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBCh) from the University of Witwatersrand (South Africa) as well as an MBA from the University of Auckland. He also is a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Medical Administrators and the New Zealand Institute of Management. Dr Levy has previously been awarded the prestigious King's Fund International Fellowship from the King's Fund in London. Dr Levy will take up his full time position at the Institute in October.

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