A greater emphasis will be placed on sales and marketing, when Craig Richardson takes over the reins at Jade Software on March 23.
“The credentials are there for a very strong company, but the brand is unrealised,” he says.
Richardson takes over as chief executive from Rod Carr, who this month becomes vice chancellor of the University of Canterbury.
“I’ve followed Jade closely and was particularly interested in what Rod had done,” Richardson says. “He has left the company in a healthy, financial position.”
“The growth potential is very strong and we can bring that to realisation.
“My view is coming from the large corporate end of the market, where companies are always looking for an edge on their competitors. That comes from technology. Jade is well positioned in the current economic environment.”
Richardson, 37, is currently the chief financial officer at Coca Cola Amatil for New Zealand and Fiji. He is also responsible for heading the company’s vending management services technology business worldwide. Based in Masterton, it provides the telemetry and software that remotely manages the vending machines.
“I’ve been fortunate in working for some very successful companies, and I understand how to grow companies,” he says. “There is a huge scale difference between some of them and Jade, but the key capabilities are the same.”
Richardson, who was born in Hobart, completed a Bachelor of Commerce degree and then an MBA. His first job was with Coopers & Lybrand. He joined Rio Tinto, which posted him to Comalco in Bluff — his first experience of New Zealand.
In the mid 1990s he was again in New Zealand, having joined BHP, which at that time owned New Zealand Steel.
He was in charge of finance and planning at Vodafone in Australia, before being posted to Vodafone in Sweden to integrate a recently purchased local telco into the company.
“I was responsible for rolling out 3G UMTS in a joint venture with Orange,” he says.
He has no formal training in IT but has, rather, become qualified by experience.
Looking at the current economic crisis, Richardson sees challenging times ahead.
“I don’t think we’ve seen the bottom of the curve but we’re probably pretty close to it. It’s possibly not as bad as the press would have us believe. I’m reasonably optimistic.”
Richardson says he became aware of the position at Jade through mutual contacts. His wife has strong family connections in Christchurch.