Former Telecom CEO acknowledged by University
Theresa Gattung is a force to be reckoned with. She has excelled as a business leader at the highest level, including heading New Zealand's biggest listed company - Telecom - as it went through a period of unprecedented change.
In 2006 she was recognised as one of the world's most influential women, entering the Forbes' list of 'The World's 100 Most Powerful Women' at number 49 and was also cited by Fortune as one of the top 50 most influential women in the world.
In recognition of such achievement, Theresa was awarded a Distinguished Alumni Award at the University of Waikato's inaugural celebration of alumni excellence in 2007.
Theresa graduated from Waikato with a Bachelor of Management Studies in 1984 before going on to further study at Victoria University. She quickly advanced to senior marketing roles at National Mutual and Bank of New Zealand before moving to Telecom. In 1996 she became Telecom's Group General Manager Services and in 1999 became Chief Executive Officer; a position she held until 2007. At this time she was the first woman to become CEO of a publicly listed company. From 2009 to 2011 Theresa served as the inaugural Chair of Wool Partners International.
Colleagues refer to Theresa's "inspirational leadership" and "innovation of the highest order", noting that in quickly rising to the top of Telecom she broke through the proverbial 'glass ceiling' and is a formidable role model for women in business. She is a people leader of exceptional quality, a marketing genius and a courageous competitor. Her ability as chief executive has been tested in many circumstances, and in different regulatory regimes, and she has bravely embraced all situations.
Despite her heavy workload, Theresa offers support to her former faculty - Waikato Management School - through participation in seminars and various events where she has been a valued and inspirational speaker.
Theresa is an outstanding business woman who has always considered the global perspective and holds high expectations of herself. Her Waikato heritage and the practical grounding she received here at the University of Waikato is acknowledged as laying the foundation for the international business leader she has become.