Movers and shakers: Marcel van den Assum of GreenButton, David Scott of Techspace, Roger Jarquin of Wynyard

The CIO as ‘angel investor’ and other new and emerging roles for ICT leaders.

Professional director, independent advisor, angel investor.

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

Marcel van den Assum

“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

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David Scott is now the general manager for Wellington of Techspace.

The Wellington GM is a new role at Techspace. Prior to Techspace, Scott was head of business technology and transformation at Z Energy, which took over the downstream business from the former Shell NZ.

“David enjoyed transforming the IT team into a business technology team that is now a trusted part of the business,” says Techspace general manager David Graham. In doing this, Scott was responsible for revolutionising and overseeing the delivery of major programmes of work whilst ensuring that operational excellence was maintained in day to day operations, says Graham.

"Having an award winning CIO that understands the Wellington market and people, will help us deliver on our growth strategy for Wellington," says Graham.

Scott joined Techspace as a senior consultant last year. In this role, Scott led engagements for a major NZ telco providing strategic direction and recommendations around their data centre facilities. He also led the technology strategy creation and technology roadmap creation for one of New Zealand’s largest government agencies.

Roger Jarquin to lead Wynyard's Crime Science Research Institute

Wynyard Group has appointed Roger Jarquin, founding chief technology officer, to head its Crime Science Research Institute in New Zealand.

Wynyard operates in the advanced crime analytics market by combining big data analytics, crime science research and operational know-how to help prevent and solve serious crime. Jarquin conducted the original research and development for Wynyard’s advanced crime analytics product which won the most innovative software product category in the 2013 New Zealand Hi-Tech awards.

Craig Richardson, Wynyard managing director, says the research institute aims to bring together forward-thinking government crime prevention agencies and institutions. These include the UCL Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science and the University of Canterbury.

Jarquin has a degree in economics. He has previously held senior leadership, research and software development roles with Unisys, Burroughs and Jade Software where he was the main architect of the JADE platform.

Wynyard has likewise appointed Orion Health veteran, Gareth Cronin, as vice president of engineering. This appointment will allow Jarquin to focus on innovation critical to the company’s growth in the Advanced Crime Analytics software market, the company says in a statement.

Wellington's hi-tech ambassadors at CeBIT

Five Wellington ICT companies – Jig Lab, Posboss, Rabid, Smart Show and WatchMyGear – have partnered with Grow Wellington to promote the capital as a high-tech region at the annual CeBIT technology event this week in Sydney.

The initiative is part of the Destination Wellington programme funded by the Wellington City Council.

“Wellington is a hub of innovation and technology, with a real culture of collaboration,” says Melissa Davies, general manager for business attraction, Grow Wellington. “It’s also 20 per cent more cost effective to run a business here compared to other global cities."

Meanwhile, global film and technology start-up 8i says it will base its headquarters in Wellington. “Wellington is the perfect place to scale this company,” says Linc Gasking, co-founder and CEO of 8i. “There are so many world leaders in visual effects and digital media here. Wellington is the 3D capital of the world.”

The company says its technology, Holographic Virtual Reality, allows users to watch immersive recorded content at home using the Oculus Rift. “It’s like stepping into a movie, it feels like magic,” says Gasking.

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