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Cawthron appoints Professor Charles Eason as Chief Executive



27 March 2012

Cawthron appoints Professor Charles Eason as Chief Executive

Cawthron Board of Directors Chairman, Ian Kearney, today announced the appointment of Professor Charles Eason – a former senior manager with Landcare Research and a Professor at Lincoln University – as the new Chief Executive of Cawthron Institute.

In October 2011 outgoing Chief Executive, Gillian Wratt, announced her intention to step down from the role with effect from April 2012. An international executive search process has taken place over the summer with Professor Eason accepting the position this week. Professor Eason will take up the position at the beginning of June.

Professor Eason has a unique science sector background having held research and senior management positions in multi-national pharmaceutical companies and, in New Zealand in a Crown Research Institute, a university and a manufacturing business. He has led research groups in fields ranging from drug design to urban design, catchment management, conservation and product development. He has a PhD from the University of Surrey and has played a major role in the development of a number of new drugs for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases while working overseas. In New Zealand he worked for Landcare Research in different roles including being Regional Manager for Hamilton and Auckland. He returned to the “private sector” in 2006 as Research Director for Connovation Limited, an Auckland-based company producing new pest control tools that target introduced predators of native species. He was appointed a professor at Lincoln University in 2007where he led research programmes and established the Centre for Wildlife Management and Conservation.

Professor Eason has a long standing connection with Cawthron, having been a member of the Trust Board from 1998 to 2003 and a member of the Board of Directors since 2003.

“Professor Eason will provide strong leadership of science research for Cawthron and assist Cawthron to continue to lead research and build credibility with national and international partners and stakeholders” said Ian Kearney. “His experience with the progression of core science through to practical solutions for use by industry reflects a key component of Cawthron’s philosophy.”

Professor Eason’s achievements have been recognised by his peers and others. He has an extensive range of publications and has been a member of Advisory Groups for organisations such as the Animal Health Board, the New Zealand Environmental Protection Agency, the Tertiary Education Commission, and has been a participant in the Canberra-based Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre. He was awarded a NZST “silver medal” for his contribution to vertebrate pest control. In 1994 he was the winner of the New Zealand Society of Scientist Foundation for Research, Science & Technology Science Communicator award.

“It is a privilege to be able to lead such an important and historical institution, one with such a well-earned global reputation. Cawthron's excellent research, and its ability to use research to provide solutions to matters of importance to the environment and the use of our coastal and freshwater systems is important. Cawthron has a great platform of capable researchers, facilities and partnerships to enable it to play an exciting role in the development of New Zealand’s seafood industry” Professor Eason said.

Daryl Wehner, Cawthron’s Chief Financial Officer, will be acting Chief Executive when Gillian Wratt steps down at the end of March until Professor Eason takes up the new role in June.


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