Theresa Gattung

  • Speaker

Theresa Gattung is a leading New Zealand business personality and author of her best-selling autobiography Bird on a Wire. Named in Fortune magazine’s list of the 50 most powerful women in international business several times since 2002, she was also included in Forbes’ list of the world’s 50 most powerful women across any sphere in 2006.

Theresa was recognised in the 2015 New Year’s Honours List being made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to business and philanthropy and in August 2015 she was inducted into the Marketing Hall of Fame at the 2015 TVNZ Marketing Awards. In September 2018 she was awarded the Lifetime Achievement award at the Women of Influence Awards.

Over the last few years Theresa has been involved in a wide spread of governance positions and entrepreneurial start-ups including being co-founder, alongside Cecilia Robinson and Nadia Lim, of My Food Bag. My Food Bag was born out of the idea that healthy and delicious food can also be convenient and exciting. The goal of My Food Bag is to bring inspiring, nutritionally-balanced tasty recipes and the best of New Zealand seasonal produce together and deliver it to your door. Initially launched March 2013, and now servicing most major New Zealand cities, My Food Bag has a turnover of over $130m.

Theresa joined the AIA Australia Board as an Independent Director in May 2009 and was appointed as Chair of the Board in March 2010. AIA Australia won the Australian & New Zealand Insurance & Finance (ANZIIF) Life Insurance Company of the Year in 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2017 and the Australian Financial Review Smart Investor Life Company of the Year 2012. She is also Chair of Telco Technology Services Limited (TTS) and Chair of Co.OfWomen. Theresa was made a member of the National Advisory Board on the Employment of Women in October 2016.

Theresa was the inaugural Chair of Wool Partners International from July 2008 to March 2011, applying her leadership skills, international business experience, marketing and branding expertise to lead the company’s drive to reinvigorate the international market for New Zealand’s strong wools. She was also the Chair of the New Zealand Advisory Group for the Frankfurt Book Fair 2012.

From October 1999 to June 2007 Theresa was CEO and Managing Director of Telecom New Zealand, a $5 billion turnover telecommunications business operating in New Zealand and Australia and listed on the NZX, ASX and NYSE. During her tenure as CEO she led Telecom through world-changing technology developments and the evolution of the business from a traditional telco to the number one IT provider in New Zealand

Before becoming CEO of Telecom, Theresa held roles there as Group General Manager, accountable for revenues of NZ$3 billion and responsibility for over 3,500 staff, and General Manager, Marketing. Prior to joining Telecom, Theresa held a number of marketing roles in the financial services sector.

Theresa is involved with a number of not-for-profit and philanthropic interests, including being co-founder of the World Women Charitable Trust and Patron of the Cambodia Charitable Trust. She is NZ Lead for SheEO, a radically redesigned ecosystem that supports, finances, and celebrates female innovators.

She was Chair of the Wellington Board of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) for many years and on the Royal New Zealand SPCA (RNZSPCA) National Board from June 2016 to April 2018 as it transitioned to become ONE SPCA. In February 2018 she was inducted into the RNZSPCA Hall of Fame.

Theresa’s personal interests include horse riding, fashion, swimming and collecting contemporary art. She lives in Wellington, New Zealand.