HumanWare, the Christchurch- based company that makes information access products for blind, visually impaired and learning-disabled users, has appointed Richard Mander as its new CEO.
He succeeds founding CEO Russell Smith, who died with his wife Marian in a plane crash in August.
Mander is a New Zealander with a strong background in technology, research and product development and a particular interest in the human interface with technology.
He worked for 14 years in the US including seven years at Apple Computer before spending seven years as a consultant advising technology companies on customer-centred product design and methods for improving product
In 2004 he received the World Class New Zealander Award from New Zealand Trade and Enterprise. This is an annual award for expatriate New Zealanders who make an outstanding contribution to the country’s economic development.
In the same year, Mander returned to New Zealand to take up a position as chief technology officer at location-technology specialist Navman.
“We are very pleased to be able to appoint a person of the calibre of Dr Mander”, says HumanWare chairman Tim Robinson. “His experience in research and development and understanding of how products can be better designed to meet customers’ needs will be invaluable.”
“I am very excited about this opportunity and the challenges that lie ahead,” Mander says. “HumanWare has some clever technology and great products. I am looking forward to working with the team there to take the company to the next stage of its development.”
Gilles Pepin, the CEO of HumanWare Canada, has been acting CEO of the group since Russell Smith’s death.
Robinson says while HumanWare has a significant presence in Canada and is a global business, Christchurch is still the centre for much of its research and product development and the board wants to keep the head office of the company in Christchurch.
Pepin says he cannot relocate to Christchurch for family reasons.