The Ministry of Defence Leadership Team
Tony Lynch commenced as Deputy Secretary of Defence at the New Zealand Ministry of Defence in May 2014. His immediate previous assignment was as New Zealand’s Ambassador to the Kingdom of Thailand with cross-accreditation to Lao PDR, Cambodia and Myanmar. Other diplomatic assignments have been to New Zealand’s Mission to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in Geneva, the New Zealand Embassy in Jakarta and the New Zealand High Commission in Canberra.
Prior to his assignment in Thailand, Mr Lynch served as Foreign Policy Advisor to New Zealand’s Prime Minister, the Right Honourable John Key.
Mr Lynch has a Master of Arts degree in History from the University of Otago, Dunedin. His interests include cricket, rugby, swimming and cycling, as well as food and wine.
Mr Lynch’s partner is Ms Julie-Anne Lee.
Mike Yardley is Deputy Secretary Acquisition at the Ministry of Defence. Mike has extensive experience of the acquisition and capability management process at both a leadership and project level including a period on secondment to the Ministry of Defence. Mike previously served as Chief of the Royal New Zealand Air Force, holding the rank of Air Vice-Marshal and has 35 years of leadership, operational, management, planning and technical experience across the New Zealand Defence Force.
As Assistant Chief of Air Force – Capability he led the RNZAF Capability Directorate dealing with both major and minor capital programmes including introduction into service plans for the P-3 Orion and C-130 upgrades. He worked with the Ministry of Defence to obtain government approval for the A109 Light Utility Helicopter. Mike was NZDF Project Manager for the P-3 Orion Systems Upgrade, spending four years working on the project in both New Zealand and the United States.
In 2010 Mike was part of the team that designed and established the New Zealand Defence Force Capability Branch, and was Head of the Programme Management Office, which was responsible for introducing best-practice systems and tools for project and programme management, governance arrangements, risk management and business case development.
Prior to being appointed Chief of Air Force in 2014, Mike held many senior roles within the NZDF including Air Component Commander Joint Force NZ and Chief of Staff Headquarters NZDF. In these roles Mike has worked extensively with Ministers, senior officials and Defence Leaders in New Zealand and overseas. Mike began his career in 1981 as a Navigator on 5 Squadron, and later became Operations Flight Commander and Commanding Officer of the Squadron.
Mike has a Master of Strategic Studies from the Air University, Alabama and a Diploma in Military Studies from Massey University. He has studied at the Royal College of Defence Studies and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
Mike has two adult children. Outside work he loves reading history and watching and playing a wide variety of sports.
The Deputy Secretary Acquisition is supported by a the Acquisition Leadership Team, whose details are provided below.
Alicia Wright is Deputy Secretary Evaluation. The Evaluation Division is responsible for conducting assessments and audits of the New Zealand Defence Force and of the Ministry's capability acquisition activities on behalf of the Minister of Defence.
Alicia Wright has been a public servant both in New Zealand and overseas.
Alicia began her public service in Washington DC and, in 1996, came to New Zealand to work within the Department of Labour’s Labour Market Policy Group. She has had senior roles across the public service including Ministry of Social Development, Department of Internal Affairs and Ministry of Defence. She has also been a principal at Deloittes and was Director of Amherst Group.
Alicia became the Deputy Secretary Evaluation within the Ministry of Defence in 2012, responsible for the Ministry’s statutory function to audit and assess the NZ Defence Force and the ministry’s procurement activities.
Alicia has a Masters in Science from Syracuse University.
Bryan Westbury is Deputy Secretary of Defence Finance. The Finance Division is responsible in managing the financial and accounting functions of the organisation and providing financial advice and support to management to assist in a better financial understanding of the organisation’s operations.
Prior to his appointment in November 2008, Bryan was General Manager Corporate Services and Sales for Standards New Zealand which he held for a period of ten years. Bryan has also held senior financial positions with Ajax Fasteners (NZ) Ltd, Unisys (NZ) Ltd and within a chartered accountancy firm.
Bryan, a chartered accountant, has in excess of 17 years experience as a member of Leadership Teams and has made a significant contribution to organisations during periods of change. Additionally, his experience includes implementing integrated financial systems and related upgrades that assist an organisation with its information needs
He has extensive experience in strategic planning, management and financial accounting in the IT, services and manufacturing industries as well as the public sector. He takes an active role with providing strong strategic and financial guidance to assist the organisation to strive to achieve its objectives.
Bryn Gandy is the Deputy Chief Executive, Strategy, Governance and People at the Ministry of Defence.
Assistant Secretary Acquisition - Huntley Wright
Huntley Wright is Assistant Secretary Acquisition at the Ministry of Defence. He previous served as the Director, Development Branch in the Ministry, responsible for providing advice to the Minister of Defence and Cabinet on the development of all major capability projects and programmes.
Huntley joined the Ministry of Defence in December 2001 as an Analyst in the International Branch. Since then, he has worked in a variety of significant policy roles, specialising in capability development. He worked on the Defence White Paper in 2010 and in 2013 had a leadership role on the Defence Mid-point Rebalancing Review that balanced the Government’s defence policy, the capabilities required to deliver that policy, and funding. Huntley also spent a period seconded to the Office of the Minister of Defence.
As Director of Development Branch Huntley led a team of analysts who since 2010 have prepared two Defence Capability Plans and over 23 capability project and programme business cases for Ministerial and Cabinet approval worth over $2 billion. The projects have included the new Pilot Training Capability (Texan T-6), new Medium and Heavy Operational Vehicles, Network Enabled Army, and the Individual Weapon Replacement. Through the capability development process Huntley has personally led the engagement with Central Agencies on Defence’s capability projects and programmes ensuring strong sector support.
Huntley has been integral in the formation of the Defence’s approach to portfolio, programme and project management. He champions a continuous improvement approach, early engagement with industry and the use of analytics such as Qualitative Risk Assessment and Multi Criteria Decision Analysis. He has ensured a portfolio approach to capability development integrating policy, problem definition and technical analysis of capability requirements.
Huntley has a PhD and before joining the Ministry of Defence was a lecturer in History and Politics at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji.
Huntley is married to Anne and has two children. He is a keen skier and cook.
Programme Director Maritime – Jon Finderup
Jon Finderup is the Programme Director – Maritime at the Ministry of Defence. He has extensive skills and knowledge in the acquisition and introduction into service of maritime assets. Jon has 30 years experience as a naval officer and engineer and previously served as Chair of the Joint Programme Office (Maritime) and New Zealand Defence Force Maritime Regulator. He is a retired Captain for the Royal New Zealand Navy.
From 2008–2014 Jon was Project Manager of the $446 million project to upgrade the surveillance, combat and self-defence capabilities of the ANZAC frigates. Jon led the New Zealand Defence Force project team from definition of requirements, through development of the Initial and Detailed Business Cases. Jon was then seconded to the Ministry of Defence where he worked to prepare the Request for Tender and coordinate subsequent evaluation process culminating in the awarding of contracts in 2014.
Jon brings a focus on using project and programme management tools, analytical tools and operations analysis to deliver robust business cases and well structured projects. He is experienced in Better Business Case methodology and has worked with tools including Independent Quality Assurance, Quantitative Risk Analysis, Gateway Reviews, and Multi Criteria Decision Analysis. Jon also has extensive experience working with governance boards and central agencies, and ensuring that policy and operational needs are well integrated in the acquisition process.
Jon brings wide technical knowledge and engineering skills to the role. He has served as a Director of Weapons Engineering for the Royal New Zealand Navy and has extensive knowledge of
Command, Control, Communication, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance capabilities. From 1996–1998 he worked in the ANZAC Ship Project Joint Project Office in Canberra and then served as the commissioning Weapon Engineer on HMNZS TE MANA, spending 18 months within the shipyard undertaking acceptance and introduction into service activities.
Jon has a New Zealand Certificate of Engineering and a Weapon Engineering Qualification from the Royal Naval Engineering College, followed by the award of a Weapon Engineering Charge Qualification from the Royal New Zealand Navy.
Jon is married to Michelle and has three children. As a practical engineer he has a comprehensive home workshop and has built a 7m Alloy boat and converted a bus into a motor home, which the family use regularly.
Programme Director Land – Richard Burn
Richard Burn is the Programme Director – Land at the Ministry of Defence. He was formerly a management consultant based in Wellington working on large capability projects, organisational development and change programmes in the private and public sector. Prior to working as a consultant Richard had a 26 year career with the Royal Air Force and then served with the Royal New Zealand Air Force in the Directorate of Logistics 2005-2007.
As a management consultant and business manager, Richard worked for Alcatel Lucent, Beca Applied Technologies and Maven International on a wide range of programmes in the public and private sectors. In 2007–2008 Richard was Project Assurance Manager for the Australasian business of Alcatel Lucent responsible for improving project management methodology, procedures and tools. At Beca Applied Technologies Richard led the development of the Wellington business including leading an integrated team from Beca, Deloitte and Lockheed Martin on the Consolidated Logistics Programme of work in the New Zealand Defence Force. At Maven International Richard led major projects in the public and health sector in Information Technology, business improvement and change management.
Richard has strong commercial, financial and negotiation skills. He is an advocate of continuous improvement methodologies and implementing Lean and Six Sigma principles within organisations.
During his service with the Royal Air Force Richard worked on joint operations in the Falklands, Kuwait and Oman. Richard has a background as a senior engineering specialist including operational experience with fast jets, tactical and strategic air transport.
Richard has a Master of Science in Engineering Business Management from the University of Warwick, a Higher National Certificate in Aeronautical Engineering from the Royal Naval Engineering College, a Diploma in Management from the UK Institute of Management and is a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt.
Richard and his wife Kay recently became grandparents and live on a lifestyle block near Wellington. He is a keen wreck diver and motorbike rider.
Programme Director Air – Neil Hygate
Neil Hygate is the Programme Director – Air at the Ministry of Defence. His previous role was as Director Strategic Projects for Airbus Group Australia Pacific. Before joining Airbus Group in 2003, Neil had a 26 year career in the Royal New Zealand Air Force including roles as the Director of Air Force Personnel, Deputy Director Force Development, and Private Secretary to the Minister of Defence.
During a 12 year career at Airbus Group Neil has developed extensive experience managing major capability development and sustainment projects, leading large multidisciplinary teams and developing and negotiating commercial and contractual arrangements.
At Airbus Group Neil was Director of the Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter programme, a $1.2 billion AUD programme to provide the Australian Defence Force with 22 Tiger helicopters, full training systems, ground mission equipment, initial material support and comprehensive through life support.
Neil was General Manager of the P3 Accord Joint Management Office, which led a combined industry and defence team to deliver capability upgrade projects to, and sustainment for the Australian Defence Force maritime surveillance AP-3C Orion. The support arrangements were based on partnership and alliance contracting principles requiring the development of strong collaborative relationships between industry and defence.
Working in a multi-national company enabled Neil to experience both Australian and European business cultures and recognise the importance of clear strategic objectives, open communication, collaboration and leadership as critical to successful delivery of business outcomes.
Neil holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Canterbury and a Master of Business Administration from Massey University. He also attended the Royal Air Force College, Cranwell.
Neil is married to Michele and has a teenage daughter. In addition to being keenly interested in all things aviation Neil is an enthusiast for British motor cars of the 1960s.
Chief Advisor, C4ISR – Hema Sridhar
Hema Sridhar is the Chief Advisor, Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) at the Ministry of Defence. Hema also works with the Defence Technology Agency, New Zealand Defence Force.
Hema has over 10 years of experience in defence science and technology and expertise across the C4ISR domain including integrated intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, radar systems, undersea warfare, satellite intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, network enabled capability and emerging and disruptive technologies. During this time, Hema has developed expertise in technology assessment and made a significant contribution to furthering several key acquisition projects.
Hema has provided extensive support to the ANZAC Frigate Systems Upgrade project in various phases of acquisition including review of Request for Information/Request for Tender submissions, engagement in the multi criteria decision analysis process, development of system requirements, technical assessment of various sub-system performance capabilities, and she facilitated a signature measurement trial for the frigate in conjunction with Defence Science and Technology Group in Australia.
As the lead for the Defence Technology Agency’s radar programme, Hema has also engaged in capability definition through to introduction into service for several other acquisition programmes including the Orion radar upgrade and Project Protector Vessels remediation. More recently, she has taken on the role of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance section manager where she has applied her scientific expertise more broadly to identify and establish research projects in emerging C4ISR research areas. She is also actively engaged through the international defence science community promoting research activities to shape future C4ISR capability.
Hema also leads Defence Technology Agency’s emerging technologies efforts and has formed strong networks within the international defence and intelligence community to identify emerging technologies and threats of relevance to New Zealand Defence Force and national security. She has made scientific contributions to the Defence Assessment 2014 and Defence White Paper as well as informing several future capability projects.
Hema has a Masters of Science in Physics and a Bachelor of Technology in Opto-electronics from the University of Auckland.
Hema is married to Madhav and both are technology enthusiasts and keen travellers. She is also a registered marriage celebrant and has officiated wedding ceremonies for her friends and colleagues.