Richardson boosts Jade's export hopes

Software company Aoraki hopes appointing former finance minister Ruth Richardson chairman of its board will help the Canterbury firm boost its exports.

Software company Aoraki hopes appointing former finance minister Ruth Richardson chairman of its board will help the Canterbury firm boost its exports.

Aoraki earns about 40% of its annual $60 million turnover from exporting and expects this share to exceed half in the next year or so as it experiences “substantial growth” overseas.

Spokesman Greg Williamson says Richardson, an Aoraki board member for six years, would help bring this about.

Accepting that the former minister has little, if any, direct IT experience, Williamson says Richardson brings “real strengths” in other areas. “Her consultancy firm has links with many overseas countries and she brings much corporate governance experience in re-organising and running companies."

Aoraki founder and head Sir Gil Simpson will continue to run the company, while Richardson will ensure it makes a profit and shareholder concerns are met.

Williamson says Aoraki plans to expand its UK operations, particularly in its healthcare software operations. The UK is presently “a small element” of Jade global sales, but Aoraki hopes to boost that, along with sales to Singapore, India, Korea and Japan.

To help this, the company is forming a new subsidiary, Jade Capital, which will house five of Aoraki’s operating divisions, which are transportation, healthcare, tertiary student management, customer relationship management and payroll/human resource management. It will be chaired by Simpson, with former Aoraki chairman Murray Valentine and Peter Helms as directors.

The Aoraki website lists Richardson’s business interests as establishing her own strategic and economic policy advice consultancy. She is also chairman of Cardinal Group Australia, Dairy Brands NZ, Morningstar and the Pacific Investment Capital Fund, a director of Trans Alta New Zealand, Oyster Bay Marlborough Vineyards, Wrightson and a non-executive director of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand.

Richardson was not available for comment.

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