Meet The Judges


Dame Alison Paterson was appointed as a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to business in the New Year’s Honours 2014 and was previously awarded the QSO for services to the community.


Dame Alison’s experience spans a range of industries in both the public and private sector. She is recognised as being a trailblazer for women in governance roles. She is a Chartered Accountant who operated a sole firm accounting practice. Her first major board appointment was in 1976.


Dame Alison served on the Reserve Bank board from 1996 to 2010 including as Chair of the Audit Committee and Deputy Chair. Her past appointments include the Chair of several organisations including Landcorp Farming, Abano Healthcare, Crown Irrigation Investment, Waitemata Health and as a director of Metrowater.


Dame Alison is a Fellow of the University of Auckland, D.Com [Massey], a Distinguished Fellow of the Institute of Directors, and a Fellow Chartered Accountant (FCA).  She was 2010 QBE Chairman of the Year and was inducted into the Business Hall of Fame in 2015.


Sandy serves, and has served, as Chairman or Director for numerous organisations in both New Zealand and overseas. He has a wealth of experience in corporate governance and finance, having spent 15 years working in international commercial and investment banking, including as CEO of Citibank New Zealand.


Sandy has lived and worked in New Zealand since 1986, serving on the board of the Bank of New Zealand and as the statutory manager of DFC New Zealand Limited for which he received a 1990 Commemoration Medal.


For the past 25 years, Sandy has had his own international management consulting firm, specialising in strategic financial and human resource issues and has served as Chairman or Director of several New Zealand companies.

FRAN O'SULLIVAN (Judging Panel Convenor)

Fran O’Sullivan is Editorial Director of Business for NZME and a high profile business columnist for the New Zealand Herald.


She has a strong interest in New Zealand's business success and is a frequent TV commentator and public speaker.


Fran is a member of both the NZ US Council and NZ China Council’s Advisory Boards and a committee member of the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (NZ). She is also a regular participant in NZ’s partnership forums with the United States, Australia and China.


Fran is a former editor of National Business Review and has an award-winning track record in business journalism.



Jonathan Mason has over 30 years of experience in financial management roles in the oil, chemicals, forest products, and dairy industries with an emphasis on emerging markets. Jonathan was CFO of Fonterra Co-operative, CFO of Cabot Corporation (a Boston based chemical company), and CFO of Carter Holt Harvey.


Jonathan also served in senior financial management positions at US based International Paper from 1990-2000.


Jonathan is currently a director of numerous large organisations and an Adjunct Professor of Management at the University of Auckland.


Neil Paviour-Smith has over 25 years' experience in various roles in New Zealand capital markets. He is Managing Director of Forsyth Barr Limited, a leading NZX sharebroking firm and investment bank.

Neil is a Former Director of the New Zealand Exchange (NZX Limited) and Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand (CAANZ) and Pro Chancellor of Victoria University of Wellington. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Finance Professionals New Zealand (INFINZ), having been Chairman of the NZ Society of Investment Analysts 1999-2001. Neil was an inaugural recipient of a Sir Peter Blake Trust Leadership Award in 2005.


Cathy Quinn is a senior partner (and former Chair) of MinterEllisonRuddWatts.  Cathy was made an officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the Queen’s Birthday honours list in 2016 for her contribution to the law and women.

Cathy is a board member of the New Zealand China Council and named the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award Winner 2010 (New Zealand). 

Cathy is on the Board of the NZ Treasury and chairs its' Audit and Risk Committee.


Young Executive of the Year Judge

Liam Dann is the Business Editor of the New Zealand Herald, overseeing all business content in print and online. He has been a journalist for 20 years, covering business for the last 15 of them. He has also worked in the banking sector in London and travelled extensively. His passion is for Markets and Economics, because they are the engine of the New Zealand economy.