ICEHOUSE Appoints New Board Members

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The ICEHOUSE announced the appointment of five new directors to its board - Claudia Batten, Bernie Crosby, Sean Simpson, Sally Synnott and Tim Williams, signifying an exciting future ahead for the organisation.

Our new directors each bring a wealth of global experience that will help grow The ICEHOUSE’s capability and contribution to New Zealand’s economy.

The ICEHOUSE today announced the appointment of five new directors to its board - Claudia Batten, Bernie Crosby, Sean Simpson, Sally Synnott and Tim Williams. Signifying an exciting future ahead for the organisation, Greg Cross, chairperson for The ICEHOUSE welcomes the new board members and sincerely thanks outgoing members for their time and expertise.

“Our new directors each bring a wealth of global experience that will help grow The ICEHOUSE’s capability and contribution to New Zealand’s economy,” said Cross.

“Collectively our new members have a deep understanding of enabling business growth on a global stage. They have all built and run their own successful businesses and have excellent networks that will help open doors locally and offshore,” he said.

“Their appointment to the board will enable The ICEHOUSE to gain ongoing insight and advice from some of New Zealand’s most successful entrepreneurs. These appointments were planned as part of our ambitious target which aims to accelerate growth of New Zealand’s economy by radically increasing internationally capable and competitive businesses by 2020.”

“It is also a time to thank our outgoing board members for their leadership,” said Cross. “The ICEHOUSE has evolved into a strong organisation helped by their business influence and guidance despite challenging times in the business sector.”

Led by Cross, the new board members will join current members Chris Quin, Acting CEO of Telecom, Greg Whittred, Dean of The University of Auckland Business School, Anthony Healy, Director of Bank of New Zealand Partners, and Peter Lee CEO of UniServices Ltd.

A brief insight into the new board members includes:

An avid technology entrepreneur based in Boulder Colorado, Claudia Batten was part of the founding team of technology venture Massive Inc. which sold to Microsoft Corp. in 2006. Having carved out a successful career in the U.S, Claudia then co-founded advertising agency Victors & Spoils - the world’s first agency built on crowdsourcing. V&S was acquired by French holding company Havas in April 2012. She is rumoured to be starting her next entrepreneurial venture in the U.S and has been actively working with budding New Zealand companies to get traction internationally.

Bernie Crosby, founder of Prolife Foods is a success story of The ICEHOUSE Owner Manager Programme. Establishing well-known New Zealand brands, Alison’s Pantry, Mother Earth and Value Pack, Bernie started the business in his garage 27 years ago and has grown the Waikato based company to well over $100 million. In 2009 Bernie was awarded an Honorary Bachelor of Business Studies from the Waikato Institute of Technology (Wintec) recognising Bernie's distinguished contribution to the Waikato region. He has also been awarded a distinguished Fellowship from the Institute of Directors and the inaugural Waikato Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Leadership Award. Bernie has also been the recipient of the Westpac/Chamber of Commerce CEO of the year.

Dr Sean Simpson is chief scientific officer and co-founder of LanzaTech, a company on the threshold of solving some of the biggest problems confronting the sustainable fuels industry today. From start-up to a multinational company, Lanzatech received numerous awards for its patented technology and recently attracted investments from Vinod Khosla, one of the world's leading clean technology investors. Passionate about building world-changing technology, Sean has a wealth of experience as an entrepreneur, persuading investors to fund start-ups and facilitating commercial success.

Sally Synnott founded Pumpkin Patch in 1990 and is still a non-executive member of the board. Pumpkin Patch began after Sally identified a gap in the market for a specialised retail brand offering design-driven kidswear. Initially a mail order business, the retail business soon followed. An entrepreneur and board member of several non-profit organisations, Sally brings The ICEHOUSE board expertise across both industry and social sectors.

A pioneer of internet marketing, Tim Williams has recently returned to New Zealand from Japan. He has had an incredible career already, taking two companies public in Japan, and selling a major stake of ValueCommerce to Yahoo! Japan in 2006. Tim has been at the cutting edge of the dynamic field of internet marketing for more than a decade. Fluent in Japanese, he has been an adviser on Japan to the New Zealand government.


Named one of the top 10 start-up incubators in the world by Forbes magazine, the ICEHOUSE is a business growth centre focused on developing owner-managers and entrepreneurs who will shape the future of New Zealand’s economy. The organisation is a business incubator for start-ups and provides business growth programmes for small and medium enterprises. The ICEHOUSE is also home to New Zealand’s largest group of Angel Investors.

The ICEHOUSE is backed by the financial support and expertise of the University of Auckland Business School, BNZ, HP, NZTE, Gen-I, Telecom, Ernst & Young, KPMG, JB Were, Microsoft, Paul Diver and Associates and Grafton Consulting Group. Since 2001 The ICEHOUSE has worked with over 3,500 ambitious owner managers – from start-ups to established multi-million dollar companies.

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