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2007 Winners

Winners of the 2007 World Class New Zealand Awards.

Supreme: Dr John Hood
Information & Communications: Brian Peace
Creative: Kevin Roberts
Life Sciences: Dr John Bedbrook
Manufacturing, Design & Innovation: Geoff Ross
Science, Technology & Academia: Dr Paul Callaghan
Investment & Business: Ralph Norris
Supreme: Dr John Hood
Dr John Hood was admitted as Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University in October 2004. He is the first person in the institution's 900 year history to be elected to the Vice-Chancellorship from outside the University's current academic body.

Before going to Oxford, Dr Hood was Vice-Chancellor of the University of Auckland. During his time there, he served on a number of external bodies, including the New Zealand Vice-Chancellors' Committee, the Knowledge Wave Trust, and Universitas 21 Limited and Universitas 21 Global. He was also a Member of the Prime Minister's Growth and Innovation Advisory Board and the Enterprise Council, New Zealand Secretary for The Rhodes Trust, Trustee of the Asia 2000 Foundation, and a Governor and Trustee of King's School. Dr Hood has also been a Director of ASB Bank Limited and ASB Group, and of the Fonterra Co-operative Group Ltd, and Chairman of Tonkin & Taylor Ltd.

Prior to his return to academia, Dr Hood spent 18 years with Fletcher Challenge Ltd. His experience of international business covers Australasia, the Americas, Europe, Asia, and the South Pacific Island countries. Dr Hood has also been a strategic consultant to a number of major corporations.

He took a BE and a PhD in Civil Engineering at the University of Auckland. Dr Hood then went to Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar to read for an MPhil in Management Studies. As well as his extensive industry experience, he has also been a Visiting Senior Lecturer in Auckland's Department of Civil Engineering.

Information & Communications: Brian Peace
Brian Peace graduated with a BSc from Auckland University in Computer Science in 1982 and returned to the University to undertake an MPhil in Management Science and Information Systems, which he completed in 1990.

Only two years after first graduating from the University, Mr Peace took advantage of his education in Computer Science when he founded Peace Software.

20 years later, Peace Software is recognised as a leading provider of software for deregulating energy utilities. Peace employs more than 400 staff in New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States. In July 2006, Peace Software was sold to Nasdaq-listed global entity, First Data.

In addition to running Peace Software, Mr Peace has also worked as a lecturer in Information Systems at Auckland University and as a consultant on system acquisition and implementation. He was named Ernst and Young Technology Entrepreneur of the Year in 1999, and New Zealand Technology Entrepreneur of the Year in 2002.

Originally from Kihikihi near Te Awamutu, Mr Peace received a Distinguished Alumni Award from Auckland University in 2001.

Creative: Kevin Roberts
Kevin Roberts is New York-based CEO Worldwide of Saatchi & Saatchi, one of the world's top ten advertising agencies.

In October 2001, Mr Roberts became the inaugural CEO in Residence at Cambridge University's business school, the Judge Institute of Management. In April 2002, he lectured in Stanford University's 'View from the top' speaker series and in October 2003, was named as inaugural Professor of Sustainable Enterprise at both the University of Limerick, Ireland and Waikato Management School at the University of Waikato, New Zealand.

Mr Roberts was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Waikato in 1998 in recognition of his achievements.

In 1997, he took up his present position with Saatchi & Saatchi. In 1998 Frohlinger's Marketing report selected Mr Roberts as the Outstanding Advertising Agency Executive in USA. The next year Saatchi & Saatchi won Ad Age International's title of "International New Business Champion". In 2002 the Saatchi & Saatchi network won creative supremacy at the annual International Advertising Awards at Cannes.

Life Sciences: Dr John Bedbrook
Dr John Bedbrook is Vice President of Research and Development, DuPont Agriculture & Nutrition.

Dr Bedbrook joined DuPont in July 2004 through the acquisition of Verdia Inc. by Pioneer. He had served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Verdia, a wholly owned subsidiary of Maxygen Inc. since its formation in March 2002. Dr Bedbrook formerly served as president of Maxygen's agricultural business since November 1999. Prior to joining Maxygen, he was Chief Executive Officer of Plant Science Ventures, a private equity fund, and Chief Technology Officer of Savia from 1997-1999.

Dr Bedbrook also served as Co-President of DNA Plant Technologies Inc, Executive Vice President for Research and Development at DNA Plant Technology Corp, as well as founder and Vice President of Research at Advanced Genetic Sciences Inc. He currently serves as a director for Plant Biosciences Limited and on the Advisory Board for the College of Natural Resources at UC Berkeley. Dr Bedbrook has formerly served on the Board of Advanced Genetic Sciences Inc, Mendel Biotechnologies Inc, and on the Scientific Board of Plant Genetic Systems BV.

Dr Bedbook received his Ph.D in Molecular Biology from the University of Auckland. He was a Fulbright Scholar to Harvard Medical School and held a Jane Coffin Childs Fellowship to Harvard University.

Manufacturing, Design & Innovation: Geoff Ross
Geoff Ross started distilling his now famous vodka, 42 Below, in his Wellington garage in 1996. He sold his first bottle in 1999.

42 Below won Gold in the World Spirits Awards and Gold at many other competitions. It is available in 10 countries worldwide and the list continues to grow - The Ritz London, Beverley Hills Hotel LA and more than 4,500 of the best bars worldwide now stock 42 Below. Late last year Mr Ross sold 42 Below to Bacardi for $138 million.

Mr Ross comes from an advertising background, having worked for DDB and global giant, Saatchi & Saatchi for eight years. It is this creative pedigree that is highlighted in a marketing strategy for 42 Below that is both original, cutting edge and often controversial.

Educated at Papakura High School, Auckland, Mr Ross grew up on a farm in Paparimu also known as 'Happy Valley'. He attended Lincoln University where he gained a Bachelor of Commerce degree. Mr Ross lives in Auckland with his wife, Justine, and their sons.

Science, Technology & Academia: Paul Callaghan 
Dr Paul Callaghan was born in Wanganui, New Zealand, and took his first degree in Physics at Victoria University of Wellington. He then completed a DPhil degree at Oxford University, working in low temperature physics. On his return to New Zealand in 1974, Dr Callaghan took up a lecturing position at Massey University where he began researching the applications of magnetic resonance to the study of soft matter.

Dr Callaghan was made Professor of Physics in 1984, and in 2001 was appointed Alan MacDiarmid Professor of Physical Sciences at Victoria University of Wellington. He also heads the multi-university MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology. Dr Callaghan has been awarded Doctorates in Philosophy and Science from Oxford University.

He is Past President of the Academy Council of the Royal Society of New Zealand, and has published around 220 articles in scientific journals as well as a book on magnetic resonance. He is a founding director of 'magritek', a small spin-off company based in Wellington.

In 2001, Dr Callaghan became the 36th New Zealander to be made a Fellow of the Royal Society of London. He was awarded the Rutherford Medal in 2005 and in 2006 was appointed a Principal Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Investment & Business: Ralph Norris 
Ralph Norris joined the Commonwealth Bank as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer in September 2005.

He started his working career with Mobil Oil New Zealand in 1967 before joining the Auckland Savings Bank (ASB) in 1969. Mr Norris was appointed Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of ASB Bank in 1991, retiring from that position in September 2001.

Mr Norris joined Air New Zealand Limited as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer in February 2002, having served on the company's Board of Directors for three years. He left Air New Zealand to take up his appointment as CEO at the Commonwealth Bank.

Mr Norris was awarded a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to business in 2006 (an equivalent of a knighthood under the old honours system). He is a Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Management and the New Zealand Computer Society. He is Chair of the Commonwealth Bank Foundation and a member of the NSW Premier's Business Roundtable.

Mr Norris was born in Auckland and educated at Lynfield College. He is married with three adult children and two grandchildren.