EMA chief executive to step down in June


The chief executive of the Employers and Manufacturers Association (EMA) Brett O’Riley has announced that he will be stepping down from the role in the middle of the year.

O’Riley has led the EMA for more than five years, taking up the role in January 2019, and is also a member of the BusinessNZ Board. He will be stepping back from full-time employment to concentrate on governance and advisory roles.

“After five years in the role, the time feels right to hand over the mantle. I am proud of what I have achieved during my time at the EMA and have fulfilled many of the objectives I set myself when I started,” says O’Riley.

“The past five years have been a challenging period for both the business sector and the EMA. I was privileged to lead a great team as we rolled up our sleeves and supported our members through the pandemic and the subsequent economic downturn.

“I have also taken a great deal of pride in the work we have done in growing the manufacturing sector and strengthening business networks across the upper North Island region as well as through the BusinessNZ Network.

O’Riley says he is excited to take on some new opportunities, particularly in the governance and advisory space as well as the opportunity to undertake some travel.

“While I am ready to take on some new challenges, my kaupapa means that I will continue to look at how I use my experience to support New Zealand businesses and grow the New Zealand economy through sustainable innovation,” says O’Riley.

“We have a great team at the EMA who are ready to get down and work alongside the new government to advance the interest of business as well as further grow and develop the organisation. I am leaving the organisation in safe and capable hands.”

EMA board chair Colin Birch thanked O’Riley for his service and said that his contribution to both the EMA and the business sector has been immense.

“Brett should be proud of what he has achieved in the last five years. It has not been an easy time and his exceptional leadership skills successfully guided the organisation through an extraordinarily challenging period,” says Birch.

“Since he started, Brett has always championed the interests of members, large and small, advocating strongly on their behalf with both central and local government and utilising his extensive network of contacts for the benefit of our members.

“He should also be proud of the significant transformation he has overseen at the EMA, including the rollout of new services and a major upgrade of our digital platforms to better meet the needs of members.

“Brett also personally led our cultural change programme and I know that he has derived huge satisfaction from the results, as he should. I know that he will be missed not only by the team at the EMA but by our members across the upper North Island.”

The EMA Board will begin the recruitment process for a new chief executive in the coming weeks.