Marcel van den Assum has taken a decidedly different career path from his former CIO colleagues, who have moved to wider executive roles or became business strategy consultants.
“I went from CIO to board member, taking that valuable experience of governance and strategic focus,” says van den Assum, who was appointed the first CIO of Fonterra in 2000. He left the dairy giant in 2005, and moved to director and advisory board roles. He is currently working in this capacity for a number of organisations including Voco and Simpl, several early stage high growth companies, and one or two government agencies.
In 2006, he was one of the original investors for a startup called InterGrid which was renamed GreenButton, of which he is also chairman. Microsoft has acquired GreenButton, and is integrating it with Azure, its public cloud computing platform.
Microsoft’s acquisition of GreenButton is ‘fuelling the innovation ecosystem’ for local ICT professionals
“It has been a great journey,” van den Assum tells CIO New Zealand, following the announcement last week by Microsoft of the GreenButton acquisition.
He sees the merger as positive for New Zealand. It is “fuelling the innovation ecosystem” for local ICT professionals and the business sector as a whole, says Van den Assum, who is currently chair of the NZ Angel Investors and a founding investor in the Wellington Lightning Lab accelerator.
Related: Leading the way
To projects that involve re-engineering and working with teams across continents, Marcel van den Assum may as well say, 'bring them on'.
"I don't shy away from big challenges," he says. "The more challenging it is, and the more people saying it can't be done, the better."
Next up: David Scott of Techspace and Roger Jarquin of Wynyard