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Our people

Operations Divisional Office

Stephen Willis – Chief Operating OfficerStephen Willis image 2019

Stephen has been the Chief Operating Officer for the University of Otago since April 2016.

As the Chief Operating Officer (COO) Stephen provides strategic leadership, planning and management across the University’s operational functions and capital developments.

Stephen leads a team of Directors responsible for Campus and Collegiate Life Services, Campus Development, Information Technology Services, Property Services, Shared Services, Sustainability, Project Management, Health and Safety Compliance and Risk, Assurance and Compliance Services. The capital programme Stephen’s portfolio is responsible for is circa NZ$1 billon.

Stephen relocated to New Zealand in 2015 for personal and professional reasons and after 8 months as the Manager of Capital Projects was appointed as the COO of the University.

Prior to New Zealand, Stephen had a long history with Mater Health Services Brisbane – one of Australia's largest, oldest and most esteemed health care companies – a privately owned and operated not-for-profit organisation providing healthcare, research and education services.

During his tenure he delivered the largest capital program in the organisation’s history and some of its most strategic projects. Prior to departing Australia Stephen was the senior Director of Built Environment in which he was responsible for a range of diverse departments and services that supported and provided amenity and security for the 7 hospitals, 7,000 plus staff and millions of visitors each year. This involved a $1.3 billion+ property and asset portfolio over several campuses, a major capital works program of several hundred million dollars and all the ancillary businesses and services typical of major hospital campuses.

Prior to making a move into the world of Capital Works, Property and Support Services, Stephen spent several years working in a number of positions as a Clinical Project Officer, Hospital Nurse Manager and Registered Nurse throughout Australia and overseas, and prior to that served in the Australian Army.

Stephen holds a Master’s Degree in Project Management, a Master’s Degree in Health Science majoring in Health Service Management, an Advanced Diploma in Project Management and a Bachelor of Nursing with Distinction.

In 2013 Stephen was awarded a Commendation Award in Business and Law from the University of Southern Queensland and in 2002 was awarded the Ian Brand Prize from the Australian College of Health Service Executives for achieving the highest grade point average (GPA) in a Masters of Health Services Management in Australia.

Stephen is a Member of the Institute of Directors New Zealand, the Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM) and is a previous Executive Committee Member of the Australian Healthcare Design Council and previous Board Member of Ronald McDonald House South Brisbane.

Tel +64 3 479 4033
Office 133, First Floor Clocktower

Nadya Shaw Bennett imageNadya Shaw Bennett – Executive Officer to the Chief Operating Officer

Nadya provides the Chief Operating Officer with high-level administrative support and advice to ensure the efficient and effective management of the Operations Group of Divisions. In addition to facilitating the day-to-day activities of the COO’s Office, Nadya also provides strategic oversight to the work carried out by the Operations Group. This includes high-level diary management and prioritisation, various HR activities, preparation of reports and correspondence issued by the COO, and ensuring that the committee pipeline deadlines are met and overall due process is adhered to. Nadya also provides governance support to the Strategic Emergency Management Group as well as the Asset Management Committee.

Tel +64 3 479 4033
Mob +64 21 279 4033
Office 134, First Floor Clocktower

Tulipa Briggs – Administrator Client Services supporting the Chief Operating Officer

Tel +64 3 470 3426
Office 134, first Floor Clocktower

Jared Hayes imageJared Hayes – Operations Strategist

Jared is responsible for the Operations Group overarching strategic plans, including the support services master plan that outlines how the services provided by the Operations Group will evolve to reflect changing stakeholder needs and demand.

Jared has worked in the IT industry for over 15 years in a variety of business and technical roles and joined the University of Otago in 2013 as the HR information systems manager. In 2016 he moved to a Programme Director role where his responsibilities included managing a significant 5-year programme of work focused on transforming the University’s support services operating model. Along with implementing significant organisational structure changes, this also encompassed the delivery of numerous information technology, space and process improvement projects to fully embed the new model.

Jared holds a PhD in Information Science from the University of Otago and has also obtained several programme/project management qualifications and moved to his current role in December 2021.

Mob +64 21 279 4153

Wendy O’Connell – Administrator Client Services supporting the Operations Strategist

Mob +64 27 224 8207

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Office of Risk, Assurance and Compliance

Mark Cartwright imageMark Cartwright – Head

As Head of Risk, Assurance and Compliance, Mark is responsible for leading the risk management, internal audit, and legislative compliance functions across all facets of the University's business, including its academic, research, administrative, project, and commercial activities. He brings to the role a depth of experience in both the financial, local government, health, and higher education sectors.

Mob +64 21 279 1337
Office 109 St David Street

Risk, Assurance and Compliance website 

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Office of Sustainability

Ray O'Brien – HeadRay O'Brien

Tel +64 21 766 937
Office 109 St David Street

Ray stepped into the role of Kaiwhakahaere o Tiotū Taiao / Head of Sustainability at the start of 2020.

As the Head of Sustainability, Ray provides leadership and strategic direction for the Sustainability Office. The role involves the linking of activity across operational and academic areas, in order to weave sustainable practice into all that we do. This work is guided by the University’s Sustainability Strategic Framework.

Ray leads a team working on greenhouse gas emissions, student engagement, and communications.

Ray relocated to New Zealand in 2005 from the UK where he had worked for the military developing leadership through adventure activities. Since then he has worked in tourism, primary, secondary, and tertiary education. Most recently, he worked for Otago Polytechnic in a variety of learning design roles where he was responsible for the integration of sustainability into learning and teaching.

Ray holds a range of education qualification including a master’s degree in education. He is currently working towards a Doctorate of Professional Practice.

Sustainability at Otago website

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Health, Safety and Wellbeing Office

Andrea McMillan – DirectorAndrea McMillan image 2019

Tel +64 3 479 7380
Office 409 Leith Street

Andrea McMillan has a background in workplace health and safety, having worked as a Health and Safety Manager, General Workplace Inspector and Occupational Health Nurse for Cadbury and the Department of Labour, before taking the role of Head of Health and Safety Compliance at Otago in 2001.

Health and Safety website  

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Transformation and Improvement

Andy Jenkins 2022 imageAndy Jenkins – Director

Mob +64 225 324 252
Office 62 Albany Street

Andy leads the Transformation and Improvement Division, who add value to the University by maturing our capability in enterprise-wide project portfolio management, delivering our high change impact programmes, and optimising our business processes. The Division also enhances the quality and robustness of business cases, undertakes project quality assurance, and designs services that are easy for people to use.

Change, innovation, and improvement are Andy’s focus areas. Andy has led a multiple organisations to high project management maturity, and is one of a handful of individuals in New Zealand that have been assessed as achieving P3M3 maturity level 4 and above. He is a winner of the Project Management Institute PMINZ Project Management Office of the Year award. Before joining the University of Otago, Andy was the University of Auckland’s enterprise portfolio manager. Andy has also held project roles in a Welsh regional education consortia and a fortune 500 company.

Within Transformation and Improvement, Andy provides leadership and strategic direction for the Enterprise Project Management Office, the Business Process Management Office, and the Strategic Programme Delivery Unit.

Enterprise Project Management Office

Transformation and Improvement Division

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Operations Group of Divisions

David Tapp – Director, Shared Services David Tapp image 2019

David has a strong background managing large-scale complex teams, with a deeply customer-centric orientation, working in both the public and private sectors in New Zealand and Australia. David came to the University after working for 7 years for the Ministry of Justice as the Chief Advisor of Modernisation, as well as being District Court Registrar.

In his role, David is responsible for leading the development and implementation of Shared Services, one that guides the delivery of an outstanding student and staff experience.
The Shared Services portfolio is responsible for administrative support and student experience primarily, but also includes components of finance, human resources, AskOtago and information technology within its ambit.

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Tanya Syddall image 2021Tanya Syddall – Director Campus Development

Mob +64 21 279 0253

Tanya Syddall is accountable for the strategic planning and delivery of the Strategic Capital Works program – the biggest investment in planning and capital projects in the University’s history.

Tanya has 23 years’ experience in the building engineering and construction industry in Australia and more recently in New Zealand. She has a breadth of knowledge in delivering complex capital projects with extensive experience in the health and education sectors and a passion for developing high performing and collaborative teams.

Tanya has been a client-side Project Manager for a global engineering firm and worked for Mater Health Services Brisbane where she held the role of Director Capital Works responsible for the planning and delivery of Mater’s capital works program over several hospital campuses. Tanya holds a Bachelor of Urban Development majoring in Construction Management from the Queensland University of Technology.

Tanya relocated to New Zealand in February 2019 to lead the project team as Project Director for the University of Otago’s Christchurch Campus Redevelopment Project. In February 2021 Tanya moved to Dunedin with her family to take on her new role as Director of Campus Development.

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Dean Macaulay – Director, Property Services Dean Macaulay image 2019

Dean has multi-national experience in facilities management, strategic procurement and maintenance planning. His extensive experience includes managing large teams and diverse property portfolios in high risk environments.

Dean started his role at the University of Otago in 2018, after working in Melbourne as Head of Facilities and Asset Management at United Petroleum. He has long-held a desire to work in the university sector because it offers a wide range of diverse properties and space needs, while asset performance will provide a unique opportunity. 

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Mike Harte – Director, Information Technology Services Mike Harte image 2019

Mike has over 30 years’ experience in the ICT industry across the banking, retail, Local Government and education sectors. Prior to taking on the role of Director, Information Technology Services at the University of Otago in 2005, he was Head of Information Systems at the Dunedin City Council.

As Director of Information Technology Services, Mike is responsible for the effective and efficient provision of Information Technology services to the University and for providing professional, strategic and administrative leadership in the areas of strategy, policy and innovation in the use of ICT to support teaching, research and administration.

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James Lindsay – Director, Campus and Collegiate Life Services James Lindsay image 2019

As Director of Campus and Collegiate Life Services, James is accountable for leading the University’s extensive accommodation portfolio. His role also includes directing the University’s non-core commercial operations including University Print, the Executive Residence, University Staff Club, and the University Union services, campus retail outlets, food and beverage outlets, conference and events, and hospitality services on campus.

James is responsible for assessing and developing commercial opportunities and strengthening commercial performance through the development of strategic business planning processes. James leads the delivery of the University’s Collegiate and Campus life, and non-core commercial services strategy, and contributes to and maintains oversight of, the implementation and relevance of this strategy across the University.

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