In association with

New Zealand Business Performance Panel

New Zealand Business Performance Panel

Our business performance panel is a group of subject matter experts. They share their knowledge and research insights about specific business performance topics. The panel helps us shape tools, content and other resources for small business.

Small businesses in New Zealand are passionate about what they do, but are often pressed for time So working “on” the business instead of “in” the business often stays at the bottom of a long to-do list.

Business owners and operators tell us they would like to improve in their systems and processes to get better results, and to save time and money. But getting these up and running takes time they often can’t spare.

This lack of time to work “on” the business is one reason why New Zealand’s productivity is low as compared to other countries. Low productivity may prevent businesses from achieving their goals, whether they want happier staff, larger profits or a better work/life balance.

To help Kiwi businesses find practical ways to improve their performance, we’ve brought together a panel of experts from New Zealand and around the world. We’ve combined their insights with our own research with small businesses to produce our business performance section. The section focuses on management and leadership, strategic finance, operations strategy with self-assessments and step-by-step instructions to help businesses build happy, healthy and productive teams. More topics will be added in the future.

Active panellists

Anindya Sen

Anindya Sen

Anindya Sen is the subject matter expert for our section on strategic finance.

  • Doctorate from University of Chicago
  • Academic Leader for University of Otago’s MBA programme, and teaches statistics and finance to MBA students and in the Finance department

Prior to his academic work, Anindya lived and breathed finance in London as a quantitative strategist for the investment banks Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. He then lectured at the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore, one of India’s leading business schools, before moving to Dunedin.

Current research topic:

  • Technological innovations in finance.

Strategic finance overview


Donna Purdue

Donna Purdue

Donna Purdue is making sure we understand the impact of business practices and productivity in New Zealand.

  • First class honours in economics from University of Waikato
  • Chief Economist at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE)

She started out as an economist at Ord Minnett Securities in Auckland. Since then, she has worked with the British High Commission, the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research, Westpac, and as Chief Economist at Kiwibank. She joined MBIE from New Zealand Treasury in 2016.

Current research topics:

Jeffrey Carr

Jeffrey Carr

Jeff Carr is the subject matter expert for our upcoming 'marketing' section on

  • Faculty of New York University Stern School of Business
  • M.B.A in Marketing from Tulane University

In 1998 he was selected for the Stern/Citibank Teacher of the Year Award, received the NYU Stern Teaching Excellence Award in 2011 and was named the Stern Faculty of the Year in 2012. From 2007-2012 Professor Carr was the Executive Director of the NYU Stern Berkley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation which offers one-on- one mentoring and coaching to NYU student, alumni and faculty entrepreneurs through the Venture Mentor Network along with other services for the start-up community.

Current research interests:

  • Marketing budgeting
  • Resource allocation
  • Strategic marketing and pricing
Paul Conway

Paul Conway

Paul Conway is making sure we understand the problems surrounding productivity in New Zealand.

  • Master of Commerce and Administration from Victoria University of Wellington
  • Former lead of Economics & Research Team at the New Zealand Productivity Commission, and Chair of the Productivity Hub, a cross-agency collaboration of productivity researchers

His team at the Commission focuses on what affects New Zealand’s productivity performance and the role of policy in improving it. He has previously worked as an economist for the OECD, the World Bank, Westpac and the Reserve Bank of New Zealand.

Current research topic:

Phil McCaw

Phil McCaw

Phil is the subject matter expert for our upcoming section on Directors and Governance.

  • Founding partner of Movac
  • Bachelor of Business Studies, Senior Scholar, Massey University

He has been actively investing since 1998 and personally invested in all the Movac funds and led investment into over 20 companies. Outside of Movac, Phil remains an active angel investor and maintains a personal angel investment portfolio. He is a strong advocate for the development of the entrepreneurial and early stage investment eco-system in New Zealand and is the past Chair of the Angel Association of New Zealand; a founding investor in the Lightning Lab technology accelerator; and a founding investor in the Kiwi Landing Pad in San Francisco.

Current board appointments:

  • Aroa Biosurgery
  • Modlar
  • Shift72
  • Kaynemaile
  • Author-it
Victor Bennett

Victor Bennett

Victor is the subject matter expert for our upcoming section on Business Strategy.

  • Doctorate from University of California, Berkeley
  • Associate Professor of Strategy at Duke's Fuqua School of Business

In 2016-2017, Victor was White House Council of Economic Advisers Senior Economist for Competition and Technology Policy. Prior to academia, Victor was a Technical Specialist at Google, where he obtained patents for innovations in areas from fighting fraud to music classification.

Current research topics:

  • Automation and AI and their implications for competitiveness, productivity and workers.

Existing panellists

Julia Richardson

Julia Richardson

Julia Richardson is the subject matter expert for our management and leadership section.

Improve your management and leadership: Overview

  • Doctorate from the University of Otago
  • Associate Professor of Human Resource Management, and Director of the Human Capital Research Cluster at the Curtin Business School at Australia’s Curtin University

Her expertise centres on maximising employee performance and well-being, and the changing nature of employment relationships and work outcomes. She has worked in a number of countries in the corporate and public sector, including Canada, Japan, Singapore, New Zealand and Australia.

Current research topics:

  • Work/life balance initiatives and employee performance.
  • Managing flexible and independent workers.
  • Retention of older workers.
  • The casualisation of labour through casual, short-term and seasonal contracts.

Recent books:

  • An Intelligent Career — how to take charge of your career and professional development.
  • Work, Workers and Work Relationships in a Changing World — published in 2018
Pranab Majumder

Pranab Majumder

Pranab Majumder is the subject matter expert for our operations strategy section. Before moving into academia, he worked in logistics and information technology for a multinational firm in India.

Operations strategy overview

  • Doctorate from University of Rochester, New York
  • Associate Professor of Practice in Operations Management, and Faculty Co-Director of the Fuqua Client Consulting Program at Duke University, North Carolina

Current research topics:

  • Operations strategy, supply chains and sustainability.

International teaching:

  • Kenan-Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina
  • Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
Dan Hellyer

Dan Hellyer

Dan Hellyer is the subject matter expert for tax and accounting section. He oversees Deloitte’s Queenstown office, working with a variety of businesses and organisations.

Strategic finance overview

  • Chartered Accountant and Certificate Public Practice
  • Partner, Deloitte Private

Dan and his team at Deloitte focus on enabling business owners to get more real time information about their businesses through the use of technology and cloud accounting services. Dan has lectured in accounting for the MBA program at the University of Otago and delivered courses in Executive Education.

Current practice focus:

  • New Zealand small-to-medium, fast-growing and high-net-worth businesses.
Research alumni

Research alumni

These researchers are part of the business programme. The research teams provide consultancy and expert advice to solve specific business problems.

Succession Planning, Duke University


Recent research from MBIE and Xero had highlighted the significance of ageing business ownership and need for effective succession planning in New Zealand.

In 2019, a team of six students worked on the topic of business succession planning and identified key insights to understand the behavioural barriers in industries affected the most by ageing ownerships. We intend to follow up their report by doing additional research with experts involved in the Succession Planning section.

Succession planning group

Third row from left to right: Carlo Mailig, Ram Kumar, Matt Kennedy-Good, Raghav Bashambhu
Second row from left to right: Ginny Guo, Megha Tak, Rahul Arora
Front row from left to right: Minister Stuart Nash, United States Ambassador Scott Brown, Bevan Hall

Access to Finance, Duke University


In 2018 two teams – comprised of eleven students – travelled to New Zealand to study two topics: micro business access to finance, and how governments around the world can better collaborate to support small business management capability.

  • The report on access to finance was presented to the Small Business Council in mid-February 2019. The findings demonstrated an issue with micro business access to finance.
  • The report on international collaboration has provided the research base to help bring governments and top global experts to Wellington in December 2019 for the first Small to Medium Enterprise (SME) Productivity and Performance Forum. This event is supported by the Productivity Commission and APEC. It will be co-hosted by New Zealand, Australia and the United States.

Access to finance group

More topics will be added to our business performance section — which would you like us to work on?

More topics will be added to our business performance section — which would you like us to work on?