Theresa Gattung

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Theresa Gattung CNZM is a leading New Zealand business personality and author of her best-selling autobiography Bird on a Wire.

Gattung was recognised in the 2015 New Year's Honours List being made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to business and philanthropy.[1]

Named in Fortune magazine's list of the 50 most powerful women in international business several times since 2002, and in 2006 the Forbes list of "The World's 100 Most Powerful Women" ranked Gattung at number 49. In 2007 she "just missed making" the list.[2]

Born in Wellington, N.Z., Gattung was educated at McKillop College, Rotorua, the University of Waikato (Bachelor of Management Studies in marketing) and Victoria University of Wellington (Bachelor of Laws)

Gattung's career has spanned a wide and varied range of industries including media, information technology, banking and finance, telecommunications, agriculture, insurance and the food service industry.

Gattung worked in senior marketing roles at National Mutual and at the Bank of New Zealand before taking up a similar role at Telecom New Zealand. In April 1996, she became Telecom's Group General Manager Services. In October 1999, she took over from Rod Deane as Telecom's CEO of the telecommunications business with a $5billion turnover operating in New Zealand and Australia and listed on the NZX, ASX and NYSE. Gattung was the first woman to run a large New Zealand public company.

During her tenure as CEO Gattung led Telecom through world-changing technology developments and the evolution of the business from a traditional Telco to the number one IT provider in New Zealand.

In March 2006, Gattung courted controversy by characterising telcos to a Sydney audience as not "straight up" with customers on pricing. "Think about pricing," the press quoted her as saying. "What has every telco in the world done in the past? It's used confusion as its chief marketing tool. And that's fine ... But at some level, whether they consciously articulate or not, customers know that's what the game has been. They know we're not being straight up."

On February 2, 2007, Gattung announced that she would leave Telecom at the end of June 2007.

From July 2008 to March 2011, Gattung was the inaugural Chair of Wool Partners International applying her leadership skills, international business experience, marketing and branding expertise to lead the company’s drive to reinvigorate the international market for New Zealand’s strong wools.

Following her passion for books and reading Gattung was also the Chair of the New Zealand Advisory Group for the Frankfurt Book Fair 2012.

Gattung was made Chair of AIA Australia in 2010.

In March 2013, Gattung, alongside Cecilia Robinson and Nadia Lim, co-founded My Food Bag. Operating in New Zealand and Australia the company has grown very quickly with turnover above $30m within two years. My Food Bag NZ My Food Bag Australia

Gattung has been involved with a number of not-for-profit and philanthropic interests, including being co-founder and trustee of the Eva Doucas Charitable Trust, Patron of the Cambodia Charitable Trust Cambodia Charitable Trust and Chair of the Wellington Board of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) Wellington SPCA


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