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UniServices Executive Management Team

Dr Andy Shenk
Chief Executive Officer

PhD. For the first ten years of Andy's career he was an academic at the University of Delaware, Yale University and U.C. Irvine before joining New Zealand company Genesis Research and Development Corporation Ltd. After seven years in research and senior management positions at Genesis, Andy moved to Fonterra where he held a variety of senior positions in research strategy, venture investment and most recently as Chief Scientist. 

During his time at Fonterra, Andy was a Director and Chairman of Lactopharma, a joint venture company owned by Fonterra and Auckland UniServices Ltd, and he served as Fonterra's Board representative on a number of new spin-out companies. Andy holds a BSc in Biology from Rhodes College and a PhD in Biological Sciences from the University of Delaware.

Rob Perkins
Chief Financial Officer

BEng(Hons), PGDipBus, FCA (UK), CA (NZ), MInstD.  Rob joined UniServices in December 2014 and prior to that was CFO at Compac Sorting Equipment Group responsible for all group finance matters including treasury, tax, risk management and legal.  Before joining Compac, Rob held senior finance management roles with Fisher & Paykel Appliances.  Rob emigrated to NZ from the UK in 2002, where he held finance and operational audit roles with Xerox UK, Pepsico and TRW.

Rob is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales and a Member of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, serving on its Corporate Sector Advisory Group.  Prior to training as an accountant with KPMG UK, Rob was an Officer in the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm and graduated in Fuel & Chemical Process Engineering from the University of Sheffield. 


Debbie Peri
General Manager Operations

MInstD, LLB (Auck), BA(Hons) Harv. Debbie joined UniServices in March 2016 and brings with her a wealth of experience from large blue-chip organisations.

Debbie’s early career focussed on commercial management positions with UnitedNetworks Ltd (now Vector), Siemens Energy Services, Telecom and Vodafone.  In these roles she led a number of large commercial negotiations and process improvement projects.  In 2009, Debbie joined Fonterra and, over the following six years, led teams and large global programmes in IT, procurement, strategic change, dairy development and corporate social responsibility.  

Originally from Auckland, Debbie completed her high schooling on a 2-year International Baccalaureate UWC scholarship in the USA.  She then gained a further scholarship to Harvard University, completing a Bachelor of Arts in Government and Social Anthropology with Magna Cum Laude Honors.  Returning to New Zealand, she later completed a Bachelor of Laws at the University of Auckland, and is a member of the New Zealand Institute of Directors.

Debbie is of Tainui (Ngati Raukawa), Te Arawa and Italian descent.

Will Charles
General Manager, Technology Development

Will Charles has been General Manager Technology Development since 2005. During this time UniServices has transacted over 165 licensing deals, started 30 companies and raised over $50 million in venture and seed funding for these companies, and has successfully exited a number of these. 

He set up the TransTasman Commercialisation Fund, a A$30 million seed fund with four Australian Universities and sat on the Investment Committee of the fund.  He is a director of a number of start-up companies.  He also set up and is responsible for the direction of Return on Science which is part of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Economic Development’s Commercialisation Partner Network. He has been a speaker at a number of international Technology Transfer events including the Association of Technology Managers in the US (AUTM) and BioEurope.

Previously, Will has had extensive senior commercial experience in businesses in Europe, Asia and New Zealand where he has held executive positions at a number of companies including Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline, Roche, Celltech and Wolters Kluwer.

Janice Smith
General Manager, People and Culture

B.Tech (Hons), PGDipBus(HRM). Janice joined UniServices in 2006 to lead the Human Resources function. As UniServices has grown and evolved so has her role as she now leads all aspects of Health & Safety, Human Resources and Communications as GM People & Culture.  Janice combines careers in Science/Technology and Human Resources and has worked in Australia, Japan and the United Kingdom. 

Her career has seen Janice exposed to many industry sectors including transport, retail and consumer goods, recruitment, consulting, banking and mining, holding positions with Comalco, London Transport, Sumitomo Bank, and Restaurant Brands

Kerry Price
General Manager Government, New Zealand, Australia, Pacific

Kerry has been with UniServices since 2008. With over 22 years’ experience in public and population health he has a passion for identifying and developing partnership opportunities with organisations and government which utilise the wealth of research capability and experience at The University of Auckland to improve health outcomes for populations within New Zealand and around the world.

Dr Lisbeth Jacobs 
General Manager - International

PhD Eng, MSc Eng (Hons), PGDipBusMgt, Executive General Management from CEDEP-INSEAD, Paris. Before joining UniServices Lisbeth spent 18 months with The Icehouse as Director Strategy. Before coming back to New Zealand in 2012 Lisbeth spent nearly 14 years with Bekaert, global market leader in steel wire and steel cord products headquartered in Belgium, employing 27,000 people worldwide and serving customers in 120 countries. 

At Bekaert Lisbeth held a variety of roles including six years in corporate strategy and global head of Recruitment & Selection. During her last years with the company Lisbeth was based in Shanghai as Director R&D and was responsible for a team of R&D managers and technicians across two sites.

In 2013 Lisbeth was appointed to the board of Wellington Drive Technologies as non-executive director. Also in 2013 Lisbeth was appointed the Honorary Consul of Belgium. 


Brett Cowan 
General Manager, Business (New Zealand, Australia and Pacific)

BE(Hons) BHB MBChB. Brett is qualified as a mechanical engineer with consulting experience in aeronautical engineering. He subsequently trained in medicine and worked as an emergency medicine physician at North Shore Hospital before taking on an academic position at the University of Auckland. In this role he developed a research program in medical imaging and medical devices and setup and directed the Centre for Advanced MRI and Auckland MRI Research Group before becoming Head of Radiology. 

He is named inventor on a portfolio of patents, has won over 30 academic prizes including National Innovation in Healthcare, Excellence in the use of IT in Biotechnology, and the ‘Future Directors’ award, and has over 50 academic publications. His business experience includes start-up of high-tech ventures, commercialisation of intellectual property, management of international clinical trials, and the development of medical software. 

He has successfully worked in association with UniServices for over 30 years, taking on his current role in 2014.