UniServices appoints New Zealander with global knowledge transfer experience as new CEO
AUCKLAND 8 Nov 2004: Auckland UniServices Limited has appointed Dr Peter Lee, a research and development executive with significant senior experience in the commercialisation of new technology, both overseas and more recently in New Zealand, as its new chief executive officer.
UniServices chairman Peter Menzies said, “The Board was delighted to be able to appoint a person of Peter’s calibre to this role. He brings a depth of proven leadership in successfully commercialising research across a range of technologies and industries and in creatively bringing together diverse capabilities to address business needs.
“I also believe Peter has the right vision for the future of research-based commercial activity and will ensure UniServices continues to be an important contributor to The University of Auckland and to the growth of the knowledge-led sector in New Zealand.”
Founded 16 years ago to commercialise research at the University, UniServices is now the largest organisation of its type in Australasia, with revenues of over $62 million.
Dr Lee has spent most of his career in the United States, but returned to New Zealand in 2003 to head up a proposed spin-out company, AgriGenesis Biosciences Ltd. He left that role following a rationalisation of the parent business that reduced the scope of the new venture.
Dr Lee said he was delighted to have been selected as UniServices’ CEO and looked forward to building on the organisation’s success.
“I was motivated to return to New Zealand having closely followed the emergence of the knowledge sector economy here. I want to contribute to its success and I am excited by the continuing opportunity UniServices has to do this drawing on the impressive range of resources and research expertise at the University.”
Raised and educated in Auckland, where he completed a PhD in Chemical and Materials Engineering at The University of Auckland in 1975, Dr Lee commenced a career in commercial research in the United States in 1976.
Between 1988 and 2003 he held executive positions with the $US30 billion International Paper Company, including Global Director of New Product and Process Development and, from 1995, Vice President, Global Research and Product Development.
At International Paper Company Dr Lee established a multi-million annual fund to sponsor external research at leading universities and other institutes, formed a product development force managing expenditures of over $100 million and led global research and development strategy. During this period International Paper Company distinguished itself as an innovative leader, doubled its size and has been ranked by Fortune as the most admired company in its industry.
His recent accomplishments include involvement in the development of new light-weight electromagnetically opaque sheeting to protect sensitive electronic equipment, incorporating electronic circuits in packaging to improve storage and transportation efficiencies, and the development of industry-leading coated photographic papers for desk top reproduction of images.
UniServices’ founding CEO, Dr John Kernohan has announced his retirement.
Dr Lee will take up his new appointment on 17 January 2005.