Private sector expertise for Expo 2020 steering group

Hon Gerry Brownlee
Minister of Foreign Affairs

20 June

Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee has today announced three senior appointments to oversee New Zealand’s involvement in Expo 2020, being held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Ex-Chairman of Kensington Swan lawyers, Clayton Kimpton, has been appointed as New Zealand’s Commissioner-General to Expo 2020 and prominent business leaders, Dame Julie Christie and Christopher Luxon, have been appointed to a wider steering group.

“Expo 2020 presents a huge opportunity for New Zealand businesses to promote their goods and services into a region that has become one of New Zealand's fastest-growing markets outside China,” Mr Brownlee says.

“The value of our trade with the Gulf States region currently stands at $3.8 billion a year.

“Participating at Expo 2020 gives us a platform to increase this substantially, by positioning New Zealand businesses at the heart of where relationships are made, perceptions are formed and deals get done.

“Bringing Clayton Kimpton, Dame Julie Christie and Christopher Luxon into the fold will bring a wealth of real-world commercial experience.

“This experience will help guide the planning and direction we take with Expo 2020, ensuring decisions are made through a business lens, focused on what New Zealand companies need to maximise the significant economic and entrepreneurial opportunities on offer,” Mr Brownlee says.

Clayton Kimpton is a lawyer by background and was a Partner of Kensington Swan lawyers, and chairman of the firm for eight years. He was appointed Regional Director India, Middle East & Africa with New Zealand Trade & Enterprise in 2013 and appointed as Consul-General to Dubai & Northern Emirates before accepting his current role as New Zealand’s Commissioner-General to Expo 2020.

Dame Julie Christie is a professional director and entrepreneur with extensive governance and industry experience in media, international business development and sport. She has founded and sold two media companies in a 25-year business career and has served on the Board of New Zealand Trade & Enterprise for six years. She currently sits on the board of Mediaworks TV and Radio, on the Advisory Board of The New Zealand Story and on the Board commercial committee of New Zealand Rugby. She was also part of the Board of the Rugby World Cup 2011.

Christopher Luxon has served as the Chief Executive Officer of Air New Zealand since 2013. Before that, he was President and Chief Executive Officer at Unilever Canada. This was one of several senior leadership roles he has held during an 18-year career at Unilever where he worked in New Zealand, Australia, Asia, Europe and North America. In 2015, he was appointed the Deloitte Top 200 Executive of the year.

Broader steering group membership:

Alongside Clayton Kimpton, Dame Julie Christie and Christopher Luxon, the Expo 2020 steering group includes New Zealand Trade & Enterprise Chief Executive Peter Chrisp and GM international Peter Fenton and MFAT Deputy Secretary Jeff Langley.