Kiwi businessman Chris Liddell's appointment as one of Donald Trump's assistants is "good for New Zealand", says Xero chief executive Rod Drury.

Liddell is chairman of Xero, the Wellington-based accounting software maker that Drury founded.

Drury said he and the team were very proud of Liddell.

"We're just really excited for Chris, it's a great opportunity and to have a New Zealander in that role is I think really good for New Zealand."


Drury said Xero was awaiting direction from the White House on whether Liddell could remain on.

"Both we and he would like Chris to stay involved with Xero, but we'll have clarity on whether he can over the next few days.

"If it does turn out he's not allowed to do external directorships we do have good planning in place so we're not too concerned."

Asked if he had concerns about Liddell working for such a controversial figure as Trump,

Drury said: "We don't have a view we're just excited for Chris that he's that close to power. Chris has strong Kiwi values and I think it can only be a really positive appointment for everybody."

Last year, Xero centralised its US operations in Denver where it plans to service the world's biggest economy with hubs in San Francisco, New York, Austin and Seattle.

The company hired former Capital One executive Keri Gohman to run its American business, which is central to the New Zealand firm's ambitions to be a global player.

Xero's shares last traded at $18.50, up 14 per cent from a year earlier.

Liddell is also chairman of the environmental organisation the NEXT Foundation.

Chief executive Bill Kermode congratulated Liddell on his appointment.

"Chris' appointment is an outstanding achievement for a New Zealander - and a great opportunity to have a significant impact on a world stage," Kermode said.

"Importantly, Chris is also a loyal New Zealander, and continues to be passionate about helping New Zealand realise its full potential."

As chairman of NEXT, Liddell had made an enormous contribution to the support the organisation had provided to environmental and educational initiatives, Kermode said.

"His vision, integrity, professionalism and energy have shaped NEXT in its first two years, and we wish him all the very best in this hugely exciting next step in his career."

Trump is not a man renowned for his environmental credentials. Asked how this squared with Liddell's environmental leanings, Kermode said: "Chris is passionate about New Zealand and the New Zealand environment and this is a quality he will carry into his new role."

NEXT was hoping Liddell would be able to continue on as chairman, but this would be clarified in the next few days.

- additional reporting: BusinessDesk