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Exciting Appointments Position Optimal Usability for Growth

19 July 2012

Exciting Appointments Position Optimal Usability for Growth

Optimal Usability is delighted to announce several new key appointments to position the business for the next stage of growth in New Zealand and beyond.

Kris Nygren has been appointed as CEO, effective immediately. Kris has been with Optimal Usability for the past year as General Manager in Auckland.

He brings a wealth of experience to the role having held senior leadership roles in New Zealand and Europe over the past 14 years, most recently in strategy and innovation roles with Sovereign and Fonterra. Kris also holds a number of directorships in New Zealand and Sweden and advises start-up businesses as an Executive in Residence at The Icehouse business incubator in Auckland.

Kris replaces Optimal Usability co-founder Trent Mankelow as CEO, a position he has held since the company started in 2003. This frees Trent up to focus his energy on the company’s strategy in Australia and Asia. He remains a director, shareholder and employee of the company.

Kris is joined by an exciting new management team:

Gareth Parry has been appointed as Auckland General Manager. Gareth brings strong design thinking to the business having spent most of his career leading design agencies. He was CEO of learning consultancy Wavelength from 2008 to 2010, and most recently was Account Director at Method Studios in Auckland.

Eamon O’Rourke has been appointed to the new role of Business Development and Marketing Manager, based in Wellington. He will continue to build on Optimal Usability’s strong relationships in Wellington and to lead the company’s marketing efforts nation-wide. Eamon joins the Optimal Usability team in August from the NZ Post Group where has worked in various strategic roles over the past three years. He has a strong pedigree in design and design management. He initially honed his skills in the advertising sector and then moved onto the technology industry via Advantage Group and Intergen.

Suzanne Cross has been promoted to the role of Practice Manager. She will be responsible for ensuring that Optimal Usability continues to deliver outstanding outcomes for clients as the business expands. She has been with Optimal Usability since 2010 and is an experienced marketer, with a particular focus on marketing change driven by technology. She brings a wealth of experience in strategy, service design, user testing, expert reviews and change management to her new role.

Leif Roy completes the management team as Wellington General Manager. Leif is a trained industrial designer with local and international experience, and has led Optimal Usability’s Wellington team since mid-2011.

About Optimal Usability

Optimal Usability is New Zealand’s leading user experience design consultancy, having worked with more than 200 of New Zealand’s leading companies and institutions over the past nine years helping them create world-class user experiences. It is New Zealand-owned, employing 19 people in Auckland and Wellington.

Optimal Usability’s sister companies include Optimal Experience, which has a team of seven consultants in Australia, and user experience SaaS product company Optimal Workshop, with more than 90% of revenue offshore and a customer list including CNN, NASA, BBC, Facebook and Intel.

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