Brett O'Riley resigns from NZICT

Industry group is well past the 'start up' phase, says O'Riley

Brett O’Riley, the inaugural chief executive of NZICT announced his resignation in a letter to the organisation’s membership yesterday.

He says after two and a half years, the group is now past the “start up” phase and he views it the right time to move on from the role. NZICT has grown from an initial membership of 30 companies, to 110 direct members and around 300 through its “communities of interest”.

NZICT is a “self-funded” organisation that partners with the government on initiatives such as the Rutherford Innovation Showcase, which will take place during the Rugby World Cup, as well as education and skills programmes.

“I think getting the organisation onto a sound footing and the growth that we’ve achieved has been really satisfying,” he told Computerworld. “There were a lot of people that were doubtful this could be achieved, I must say I never had those doubts myself.”

He denies the organisation is a “multi-nationals club”, but says that without the multinational companies, NZICT would not have been formed in the first place.

“You have just got to look at our membership to see that is not the case,” he says. “If you look across the companies we have got, we have go a dichotomy across the board, and if you look at our agenda and our priorities, it is all about growing the New Zealand economy.”

He cites last year’s trade mission to China, and the work NZICT has done in the education sector and the digital technology curriculum, as being among the organisations major achievements during his tenure as chief executive.

As the organsiation moves beyond the start-up phase, O’Riley says it may be time for rebranding, as the title NZICT was only intended for the beginning phase, but that its “gained some currency the longer it has gone on.”

He says that a possible rebrand would be part of determining the organisations next steps. “Do you use something that’s more generic like Technology Association or do you go for something that’s a bit more aspirational?”

O’Riley says that his role will be advertised soon, and that he is likely to stay in the role until the transition to a new CEO is complete after the organisation's AGM in August. He has yet to decide his next move. “I have got a number of options that I am looking at,” he says.

O’Riley serves on a variety of boards including the Network of Aotearoa Computer Club Houses, the Manaiakalani Education Trust, the government’s geospatial executive group and its procurement strategy group, and the Pacific Telecommunications Advisory Council. He says he will remain on the steering committee for the Rutherford Innovation Showcase, which is run by NZICT.

New Zealand Computer Society CEO Paul Matthews says he is sorry that O’Riley’s is stepping down from the role.

“Brett has brought a huge amount of passion, dedication and energy to the role and achieved what most others wouldn’t have been able to do in establishing and building NZICT.

“I’ve had the pleasure of working with Brett over the last couple of years. He’s always been absolutely committed to raising the profile, innovation and entrepreneurialism of ICT in New Zealand. I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of him and we wish him all the best as he takes his next career step. He’ll be leaving big shoes to fill.”

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