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UNICEF NZ Appoints Leading-edge CEO

3rd December 2020 – UNICEF NZ is delighted to announce the appointment of Michelle Sharp as Chief Executive Officer effective 14 December 2020.

UNICEF NZ’s Board Chair Linda Jenkinson, says the board were committed to finding an exceptional CEO to lead the globally renowned children’s rights organisation.

“The Board completed a robust recruitment process which attracted a wealth of high caliber applicants from around the world. In an era where the need is greater than ever, Michelle Sharp’s appointment will be instrumental in accelerating the growth of UNICEF NZ and realising the rights of every child” says Ms Jenkinson.

Michelle joins UNICEF NZ with extensive leadership and governance experience. She holds multiple directorships including that of Kilmarnock, the Akina Foundation, is an Edmund Hillary Fellow and Independent Chair of BNZ. Driven by business excellence and social change, Michelle brings to the role a strong background in digital innovation, transformational leadership and global stakeholder engagement.

“I am very excited by the opportunity to lead UNICEF NZ, and in doing so, striving for a world where every child has a right to a childhood.” says Michelle Sharp.

UNICEF NZ’s Chair of Child’s Rights, Ms Mullins say “Michelle’s strong commercial experience, her dedication to leading our bicultural journey, coupled with her dedication to children’s rights, makes this an excellent CEO appointment for UNICEF New Zealand”.

“I feel very fortunate to be able to bring to the role a good balance between strong commercial experience, as well as a passion for driving a more inclusive society, where no child is left behind. Through the application of innovative solutions, the team and I will ensure UNICEF NZ can continue to rapidly improve the lives of tamariki here in Aotearoa, the Pacific and around the world.”

Michelle was named a finalist in the NZ Business Woman of the year for Business & Innovation in 2018. More recently as Vodafone’s Head of Digital Innovation & Head of South Island, Michelle has been leading Vodafone’s strategy for future technologies.

In 2018 Michelle was honoured with a Braveheart Award in recognition of her services to Kilmarnock – a leading social enterprise providing education, employment and opportunity for people with learning disabilities, empowering them to lead purposeful lives.

“Having grown up on the outskirt of Mexico City, I witnessed first-hand the impact of poverty on a child’s life. I told myself then, that when I was older, I would make it my mission to work towards a world of greater equality. It is this drive, which has once again led me to the for-purpose world, where I have huge ambitions for UNICEF NZ in helping shape the future for our tamariki” says Michelle Sharp.

“It is an honour to join the dedicated team at UNICEF NZ, particularly at a time when the organisation is preparing to scale. Covid-19 has shown us the importance of building resilient communities, so now, more than ever, we have to pull together and drive societal change; a world where no child is left behind and every child has the opportunity to participate in creating a better tomorrow” says Michelle Sharp.


UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. For more information about UNICEF and its work for children visit

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