Our Board

Geoff Cranko

// Chair

Geoff has extensive commercial experience from small start-ups through to leading large multinational businesses. Working in a variety of sectors, including engineering, technology, medical, construction, and professional services, he has lived and worked across the world. He brings a diverse cultural and business perspective with a specific focus on holistic business strategy and marketing. With over 35 years of business leadership and governance experience, he provides clear thinking and insightful commercial advice.
He sits on several private company boards and has been actively involved in many Community Foundations and Clubs in Canterbury. He is a member of the Institute of Directors in both Australia and New Zealand. He is happily married to Andrea with two amazing daughters, Toni and Monique.

Simon Carey

// Treasurer

Simon is an experienced Chartered Accountant and business adviser with demonstrated expertise across privately held businesses, government and public interest entities in New Zealand and a track record in strategic planning, analysis, project management and risk management. Simon’s specialities include: Sale and purchase of business, Valuations and litigation support, Strategic planning, Business turnaround and restructure, Financing proposals, Business succession and planning.

Professor Gail Gillon

// Board Member

Professor Gail Gillon, PhD (Ngāi Tahu iwi) is the founding director of the Child Well-being Research Institute at the University of Canterbury. Prof Gillon is also the Deputy Director for the Better Start National Science Challenge, E Tipu e Rea, which is a 10 year programme of research focused on children’s successful early learning and healthy wellbeing. Prof Gillon is supporting the advancement of Mātauranga Māori within the research sector and is a member of the Rauika Māngai Rōpū.Professor Gillon, formerly the Pro Vice Chancellor for the College of Education Health and Human Development at the University of Canterbury, has extensive leadership and management experience in Education and Health Sciences. She was a founding member of Te Papa Hauora Advisory Council and is a strong advocate for interdisciplinary research that is culturally responsive, strengths based and has a positive impact in our communities. Her own research mahi focuses on facilitators of early reading success for all tamariki, particularly those with speech and language disorders or at risk for dyslexia. With a professional background in speech-language therapy and education, Professor Gillon’s contributions to the field have been recognised through her receiving New Zealand Speech-Language Therapy Association Life membership and being the first New Zealander to be named a Fellow of American Speech-Language and Hearing Association. Recently, Prof Gillon was made a Fellow of Te Apārangi, Royal Society of New Zealand for research excellence and she received the prestigious University of Canterbury’s Research Medal in 2020.

Dr Cameron Lacey

// Board Member

Cameron is the Clinical Director of Research for CDHB. He is also a Senior Lecturer at the Maori Indigenous Health Unit (MIHI) and Department of Psychological Medicine, University of Otago Christchurch. He has clinical and research experience working with Maori and whānau. His research includes Hauora Maori, psychological medicine, cardiovascular disease, neurology and medical education. Cameron is Principal Investigator on 3 Health Research Council (HRC) funded project investigating Maori and mental illness, and is a Named Investigator on three HRC funded projects nearing completion. He is also Principal Investigator of a HRC Canterbury Medical Research Foundation funded project. His PhD examined the psychiatric comorbidity of depression in epilepsy, investigating both psychiatric and genetic risk factors. His former roles include a Psychiatrist in old age psychiatry and the Medical Director for Westcoast District Health Board.

Julie Patterson

// Board Member

Julie is an experienced human resources professional who has worked across public and private sector roles, including Canterbury DHB and Antarctica New Zealand, over the past 25 years. Having worked alongside many health professionals and scientists she understands the importance of supporting our local researchers and is excited to join the CMRF board. She currently works for GHD, a global professional services consultancy.

A born and bred Cantabrian, she grew up in Southbridge and has enjoyed a long involvement with rugby since starting to play in the mid 80s for the University of Canterbury Rugby Club and is now a Life Member of the club. She is the current President of the Canterbury Rugby Football Union (CRFU).

Jess Riddell

// Board Member

Jess is an experienced lawyer and environmental advisor at Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu. She has previously worked at commercial law firms in Ōtautahi/Christchurch and Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland, specialising in resource management, planning and local government law. Jess is also a co-owner of Offcut; a social enterprise saving remnant fabric from the landfill and turning it into caps. Jess currently sits on a number of other community-focused boards. Jess holds a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts and has certificates in te reo Māori. She is a member of the New Zealand Law Society and is admitted as a Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand. Jess, her husband and their three young tamariki live near the beach and love being involved in their local community and exploring the great outdoors.

Professor Sarah Young

// Executive Dean of the Faculty of Science at the University of Canterbury

Sarah is the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Science at the University of Canterbury. She gained her PhD in Immunology in 2000 and subsequently worked for the Imperial Cancer Research Fund and Cancer Research UK, before returning to New Zealand. Sarah's research focuses on immune therapies for cancer and implementing the best strategy for activating anti-tumour immune responses in the host.

Professor Suzanne Pitama

// Dean of the University of Otago, Christchurch

Suzanne is the Dean and the Head of Campus of the University of Otago, Christchurch. She is a registered psychologist and has been involved in Māori health research and health professional education for over 20 years. Suzanne is a current member of the Health Research Council of New Zealand Board. Suzanne has received a number of awards including the Prime Minister’s Supreme Award for tertiary teaching excellence and the Indigenous Leadership Award from the Leaders in Indigenous Medical Education (LIME). Suzanne was awarded the Joan Metge Medal for her research in Indigenous medical education.

Ross Hutton

// Investment Advisor

Ross Hutton is an adviser with Craig's investment Partners. He has extensive experience in the finance industry, having been an investment adviser for 35 years. In his free time time, Ross is very active participating and watching sport. He also enjoys the Arts. Ross holds a Bachelor of Laws, Canterbury University, and is both an AFA and NZX adviser.

Sir Robert Stewart KNZM

// Patron

Sir Robert Stewart is the founder and chairman of SKOPE Industries. Based in Christchurch, SKOPE is one of New Zealand’s leading manufacturers, of leading-edge refrigeration units, and a successful exporter. Robert Stewart was a founder of the Christchurch private radio station Radio Avon and has also been heavily involved in car racing all his adult life. He is currently the chairman of the Health Research Council. His wife, Barbara, has been actively involved in Christchurch local body politics and in the city’s arts and culture life. They have three children, two of whom, Guy and Alexandra, are actively involved in the SKOPE business.

If you have any questions about the governance structure of CMRF or any of our executive committee, our team is ready to answer all your questions. Call us on 03 353 1240 or email [email protected].

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