Callaghan Innovation, the Government's new research & development body, has appointed Mary Quin - a New Zealander with over two decades experience in senior executive roles with US-listed firms including Xerox and Kodak - as its chief executive.

Sue Suckling, Callaghan's chair, said the organisation was delighted to have Quin on board.

"With her knowledge of industry and her business acumen, we believe that she can drive substantial commercialisation opportunities for Callaghan Innovation and for New Zealand companies," said Suckling.

She said Quin had been the president of US support services firm NANA Management Services for the past seven years, during which time she had doubled revenue to US$200 million through "value creation and diversification".


"This is the kind of leadership and vision that will propel Callaghan Innovation and its clients forward as we strengthen and grow New Zealand's science, engineering, design and technology capability and its commercial presence," said Suckling. "Her international experience will also be invaluable as a key goal of the organisation is to grow and scale New Zealand's innovation and sell it to world markets."

See the full announcement here.

Palmerston North-born Quin is also a best-selling author, Callaghan Innovation said, having published a book titled Kidnapped in Yemen based on her experience of being kidnapped in the Middle Eastern country in 1998.

In a statement Quin said Callaghan Innovation would bring new possibilities for generating commercial value from "Kiwi ingenuity, science and ideas".

Quin, who has a PhD in materials science and engineering from the Northwestern University in Illinois and a MBA from Harvard Business School, will relocate from Alaska to Wellington to take over her new role, but will also spend a lot of time working in Auckland.

Callaghan Innovation has combined the operations of Industrial Research Limited (IRL), certain parts of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, staff from New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and the Auckland Foodbowl, a food innovation facility.

The government body is named after Sir Paul Callaghan, the Kiwi physicist who died after a battle with cancer last year.