HumanWare appoints acting CEO, NZ head

Pepin will commute from Canada as needed

HumanWare has appointed an acting chief executive, following the tragic death of former CEO Russell Smith in a plane crash earlier this month.

Montreal-based Gilles Pepin has been appointed acting chief executive of the Christchurch company for an interim period of up to six months, during which HumanWare will seek a permanent CEO.

Pepin was president of Canadian company VisuAide, which was acquired by HumanWare's predecessor, Pulse Data, in January. The merged company was named HumanWare after the acquisition.

Pepin will remain based in Canada and will travel to New Zealand as required.

HumanWare's New Zealand operations will be headed by Greg Thompson, the company's international sales and marketing manager. Thompson will continue to be responsible for global sales and marketing while also managing the New Zealand operation.

In a statement announcing the new roles, HumanWare chairman Tim Robinson says: "Russell's death is a great loss to our company, but Russell built a very strong management team and we have great confidence that Gilles and Greg, and their teams, will provide the leadership necessary to achieve further success and growth for HumanWare."

VisuAide will go ahead with plans to move to new premises in Christchurch at the end of this month, Robinson says. "The next 12 months is expected to be a very exciting time for the company," he says.

Pepin established VisuAide in 1988 and the company went on to become a successful supplier of digital talking books for the visually impaired. Pulse Data also made various products for the blind and sight impaired.

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