Emerge Aotearoa: Group CE Announcement

Kia ora koutou,

On behalf of the Emerge Aotearoa Trust Board I am delighted to announce the appointment of John Cook as Emerge Aotearoa’s new Group Chief Executive. John has been a key member of the Emerge Aotearoa leadership team since the organisation’s formation in 2015.  He has been involved in all of the key moments that have propelled Emerge Aotearoa from two mid-sized charitable entities (Richmond New Zealand Trust and Recovery Solutions Group) into a much more substantial Group of businesses that do so much important mahi on behalf of New Zealanders.

John’s current Chief Financial Officer role leads the Group’s finance, information technology, procurement and administrative functions.  He has also been a key member of the Group Executive Team, contributing to the Group’s strategy and transformation as well as the ongoing development of each of the individual entities that operate with the Group.  John is a Chartered Management Accountant and in 2022 the Board was pleased to support his professional development by sponsoring his attendance at the prestigious Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Programme.

The Board undertook an extensive advertising and search process to find a Group CE successor following the announcement in January of Barbara Disley’s decision to step down. Fifty applications were received for the role.  At the conclusion of the process the Board was very pleased to unanimously endorse John’s appointment.  His passion for all aspects of Emerge Aotearoa shone through, and his knowledge of the many sectors in which we operate was unmatched.  

John will transition into the Group CE role from 5 June 2023. This start date will enable a four-week handover with Barbara who will step down from the role on 30 June 2023.  During that period Barbara will retain the Group CE delegations, with John assuming full responsibility and delegations from 1 July 2023.

Over the coming weeks and months John will look to connect with stakeholders wherever possible so he can introduce himself personally. 

The Board would like to reiterate their great appreciation to Barbara, not only for her eight years of leadership at Emerge Aotearoa, but also for providing six months’ notice of her intention to step down as Group CE which has enabled a robust and successful recruitment and transition process.


Māku te ra e tō ana;
Kei a koe te urunga ake o te 

Let mine be the setting sun;
Yours is the dawning of a new day

Mauri ora

Materoa Mar
Chair, Emerge Aotearoa Trust