Board members and Advisors

We recognise the role strong governance plays in driving sustainable business growth. Optimation was one of the first privately owned New Zealand IT companies to appoint independent non-executive directors.

Neil Butler

Neil founded Optimation in 1992 and is committed to seeing the company and the ICT Industry grow, succeed, and create sustainable, highly skilled employment for New Zealanders. His entrepreneurial skills together with his professional qualifications and practical industry experience have shaped the success of the company. Under his leadership, Optimation has grown to be a respected industry brand and a trusted technology partner to some of the largest organisations in the country. This success has brought recognition for Optimation as part of the Deloitte New Zealand Fast50 and Deloitte Asia Pacific Technology Fast500.

Neil is involved in a number of industry groups focused on building New Zealand’s knowledge-based economy, including the New Zealand Technology Industry Association, the Software Exporters Association, and NZRise. He is also a member of the Institute of Directors. Prior to founding Optimation, Neil worked in ICT industry roles in New Zealand and the United Kingdom. 

Paul Cook

Paul joined Ernst & Young (EY) in NZ in 1988, and became a partner in 1990.  Over the next ten years he led the NZ consulting division, which grew to 250 professional staff. During this time, Paul’s consulting work included heading global IT and Strategy assignments for two of the world’s leading financial services organisations (Goldman Sachs and Standard Chartered Bank), and a variety of work for some of NZ’s largest companies, including Fonterra, Telecom, Air New Zealand Engineering, Watties, Fletchers, Carter Holt Harvey and DB Breweries.

Paul was a founding director of EY’s Asia Pacific Regional Practice. He was responsible for the Hong Kong and China practice and he also established specialist practices within the Australian and Malaysian firms. Following the sale of EY’s global consulting practice to Capgemini, Paul became COO of Capgemini's Asia Pacific Regional Practice. In 2002, he and two other former partners of Ernst & Young bought the New Zealand Capgemini operation. After leading it through a period of rapid growth, the partners sold the firm to Hewlett-Packard.

Paul is a director of one NZX listed company and two private companies, and he also chairs two substantial charitable trust organisations.  He has an MA from Oxford University and is a member of the NZ Institute of Directors. 

Ross Hughson

Ross is recognised as a thought leader in the IT community and has held some of the most challenging IT leadership roles in New Zealand. He has been CIO at IR and Westpac, served as a member of IR’s management board, and been Principal Advisor ICT for Government at the State Services Commission. Ross has also served on a number of international IT advisory boards and corporate governance boards over many years.

Ross has etched out a successful career in Executive and General Management in the public and private sector. While he has focused primarily on IT, he also has experience in areas as diverse as Marketing, Mergers & Acquisitions, and Government Policy. His expertise and knowledge encompasses information technology (including large outsourcing projects), significant strategic organisational change, risk management and people leadership.

Ross’s leadership experience has included a career as a Territorial Force (Army Reserve) Officer rising to the rank of Major, founding the Public Sector CIO Forum, and establishing a private software development venture (myINFOSAFE), which is focused in the area of Personal Information Management. His capabilities have been recognised through accolades such as being named CIO Magazine ‘CIO of the Year’, NZ Army decorations, and winning the Services category in the 2010 Grow Wellington Bright Ideas Challenge. 

Paul Reid

Paul joined Optimation as an Advisor in November 2016. With extensive business and governance experience, over the years he has held roles as a Director, Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operating Officer and General Manager. While also working at Optimation, Paul is currently Chairman Figured Limited, Chairman Pukeko Pictures GP, Independent Director of Software Education Limited and Advisory Board Member of VX Sports Limited. Prior to this, he was Chairman of Localist Limited, Independent Director of Maven International, Director at Converga Limited and Chief Executive Officer of the New Zealand Meteorological Service.