When Ross Peat stepped down from the managing director’s role at Microsoft NZ in June 2006 speculation was rife as to where he would pop up next. The Channel caught up with Ross in Auckland recently to find out what he’s been up to.
Having worked at Microsoft since it’s inception in New Zealand, Peat decided it was time to look at some new business opportunities and spend more time with his teenage family before they all flew the nest. It took him some time to decompress from working at such a frenetic, focused pace to adapt to a different working environment - and add in some skiing, golf and (weather permitting) a spot of fishing.
In terms of his business interests, Peat serves as a director to a number of commercial operations - both in New Zealand and overseas - and enjoys the challenges faced by the varying phases of each of the businesses, from start-up to maturity.
Passionate about making a positive contribution to the community Peat is also involved with the Broadband Auckland project, an ambitious initiative working with the Auckland Regional Council and related government entities to come up with a regional plan to develop and deploy broadband within the Greater Auckland region.
This initiative is part of the “Metro Auckland Action Plan” which seeks to provide Auckland with a world-class infrastructure in roading, uninterrupted energy supply and broadband for Auckland.
The aim is to be a pioneer in the development and implementation of a broadband network across the city, cutting through the complex commercial landscape to deliver broadband internet connectivity to anyone with a computer within a given physical area.
“As the world’s most remote economy we have to be super-connected to maintain both our relevance in the world and the standards of living we have come to expect as a first world economy,” he says.
As technology develops and the pathways to rolling out the project are clarified and established Peat is positive the project will be a huge leap forward for the region.
Additionally, as co-chair of ICTNZ, Peat is actively working to bring more aggregation and alignment to the 100+ ICT bodies in New Zealand by bringing them together under the ICTNZ umbrella.
He sees this enabling a greater sharing of resources and the opportunity to simplify engagement with industry expertise to then develop a much deeper level of discussion.
With ICTNZ as the industry touchstone, says Peat, it allows greater facilitation of economic opportunities locally and overseas as a one stop shop for people to connect with – either for advice on a new project, direction on seeking funding, training or additional business support.
The ability to develop and then articulate policy clearly with key stakeholders – including government – would allow the ICT industry the opportunity to broaden its appeal and enhance its reputation both locally and offshore, he says.
Peat sees the evolution of ICTNZ as proof of the industry’s maturity and willingness to plan for the future.
But Peat isn’t just focused on the industry. Since leaving Microsoft he’s used his time to improve his fitness – completing the Harbour Swim in 63 minutes - and has become a dab hand in the kitchen trying out new recipes on family and friends.
Peat says he’s enjoying the change of pace and the ability to give time and greater thought to projects and causes dear to his heart. The industry certainly hasn’t lost him, he’s just harder to track down (depending on the weather).