The search for the UK New Zealander of the Year Award 2016 is now over.
The New Zealand Society is proud and delighted to announce that the 2016 winner of the UK New Zealander of the Year Award is Mark Wilson. The Award was announced at the New Zealand Society’s Waitangi Day Charity Ball at The Ballroom of The Jumeirah Carlton, Knightsbridge London, on Friday 5th February 2016 and presented by Kathryn Robertson of Air New Zealand, together with His Excellency the High Commissioner for New Zealand the Rt Hon Sir Lockwood Smith, and Robyn Allardice-Bourne, the President of the New Zealand Society.
The award recognises the outstanding contribution that a New Zealand or British national has made in promoting the interests of New Zealand or New Zealanders in the United Kingdom.
Mark Wilson, Group CEO of the UK’s largest insurance company – Aviva; global business leader and champion of sustainable business; received the 2016 award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to leading global discussion on how businesses can create a lasting legacy. In particular Mark has led debates on how to mobilise the $300 trillion of capital in the financial markets to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Mark was born in Rotorua, New Zealand, in 1966 and attended the University of Waikato on an economic scholarship. He is a turnaround specialist, building his reputation by fixing underperforming large global businesses. After beginning his career in New Zealand he spent 14 years in Asia, ending as Chief Executive of Asian insurance giant, AIA. With the collapse of AIA's US parent, AIG, in the global financial crisis, Mark restructured the company, leading to one of the largest IPOs in corporate history.
Mark joined Aviva as Group Chief Executive Officer at the start of 2013. Aviva can trace its history back to 1696 and is an iconic British company. But before Mark joined, it was struggling. Under his leadership it has refocused and rebuilt its financial strength. He led Aviva's £6 billion acquisition of Friends Life Group in 2015, the largest deal in the UK insurance sector for 15 years. Aviva is now a UK Top 30 Company, operating in 16 countries with 34 million customers and £300 billion of investment assets. He is a key commentator on the role of business in society, especially how companies must create a sustainable, long-term legacy - what he calls "being a good ancestor".
He accompanied the British Prime Minister on a trade mission to Asia in July 2015 strengthening the ties between the UK and NZ and in October 2015, in an unprecedented move, was invited to address the United Nations General Assembly on business expectations for the UN’s Global Sustainability Goals for the next 15 years, the only global business leader to have done so. In January 2016, Mark featured in The Sunday Times’ List of Most Influential people in the UK.
Robyn Allardice-Bourne, President of the New Zealand Society (UK) commented: “It is with great pride that the New Zealand Society (UK) in association with Air New Zealand, presents this prestigious award. Mark is an outstanding individual not only in his business endeavours but in his vocal support of several initiatives focused on how business can make a positive and lasting impact on society. Rarely, do you find an individual with such passion and energy to make positive change for the benefit of us all.”
Mark Wilson will have the right to be recognised as the UK New Zealander of the Year 2016, and will receive return flights for two (2) from the UK to New Zealand, courtesy of our kind sponsors, Air New Zealand.
We also offer our congratulations to Professor David Paterson and Mandii Pope who were the runners up for the Award. Professor David Paterson is recognised for his lifetime contribution to medical science, and Mandii Pope, for her role as New Zealand Artist in London and charitable fundraiser.