Donald Trump's Kiwi assistant Chris Liddell has stepped down as chairman of the Next Foundation.

Liddell, a former chief executive of Carter Holt Harvey and chief financial officer of Microsoft, was last month appointed as the US President's director of strategic initiatives.

He earlier stood down as chairman of New Zealand accounting firm Xero.

Next Foundation said in a statement today that Liddell was stepping down from his role as non-executive chairman, with Next director Barrie Brown to take on the job on an interim basis. Retiring First NZ Capital chief executive Scott St John would also join the Next board as a director.


Next Foundation, an environmental and educational charity, was launched in 2014, bankrolled by $100 million from philanthropists Annette and Neal Plowman.

Chief executive Bill Kermode was sad to see Liddell go.

"Chris has done an outstanding job as Founding Chair for NEXT," he said. "His strategic thinking, rigour, commitment, integrity and passion for New Zealand have set Next up well to make a permanent difference in education and the environment in this country. He will be sorely missed, and we wish him all the best in his new role."

Liddell, 58, served as executive director of transition planning for Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential campaign and had been working with the Trump team on their transition to the White House when he was offered his new job.