Ta Pae Christchurch names executive leadership

General manager Ross Steele will lead the team as it gears up to open next October

General manager Ross Steele (centre) with the executive team of Ta Pae Christchurch Convention Centre.
General manager Ross Steele (centre) with the executive team of Ta Pae Christchurch Convention Centre.

Ta Pae Christchurch Convention Centre has unveiled its executive leadership team as it gears up for its official launch in October next year.

General manager Ross Steele will head up a team comprising Karine Legeay-Fisher (Event Services), Gillian Officer (Business Development), Ben Buchanan (Business Services), Darren Tait (Culinary Services), Vanessa McBean (Human Resources) and Ken Davidson (Building Services).

"Each team member brings an essential skillset, experience and industry knowledge which will prove invaluable as we deliver on our strategic priorities over the course of the next year," Mr Steele said.

Mr Steele was appointed general manager in early-2019, and oversees the marketing of the centre to the national and international convention market. Prior to joining Te Pae Christchurch, Mr Steele managed the Cairns Convention Centre in Queensland for 12 years. He brings more than 20 years' convention centre business experience to the role.

Here is the executive team:

•    Karine Legeay-Fisher, director of event services
Ms Legeay-Fisher has more than 25 years' experience planning and delivering customer service excellence in international and local tourism, venues and event sectors.

She was previously the operations director of the Addington Stadium project, the project director of the Hagley Oval project, and most recently, the commercial and operations manager of Ōtākaro.

•    Gillian Officer, director of business development
A business-events professional of more than 20 years, Ms Officer specialises in venue management and has worked for a number of well-known New Zealand venues, including the SKYCITY Convention Centre, Auckland Centre's Venue's and Events, and Wellington Convention Centre.

From kitchen management to event planning, right through to business development, Gillian has a wealth of knowledge in events and venue management.

•    Ben Buchanan, director of business services
Mr Buchanan is a qualified chartered accountant whose career spans across a number of convention centres and entertainment venues.

Following his first venue role with the finance team at Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, Buchanan moved to Newcastle Entertainment Centre before becoming one of the first employees in the ICC Sydney pre-opening team.

•    Darren Tait, director of culinary services
Mr Tait has more than 25 years' senior management experience in both New Zealand and the UK, where he worked in the finest country house hotels in Scotland and large function venues in England, as well as the largest entertainment venue in Christchurch.

Prior to joining Te Pae Christchurch, Tait was the food and beverage manager at Christchurch Casino where he managed six restaurants and bars and a large function space.

•    Vanessa McBean, director of human resources
Ms McBean began her career in hospitality at the Regent Auckland Hotel more than 30 years ago. She has held various hotel operations and food and beverage management roles in locations across New Zealand - including Turoa Ski Field.

Ms McBean moved into human resources in 2011. Before joining Te Pae Christchurch, she was the regional HR manager at Farmers for six years.

•    Ken Davidson, director of building services
Mr Davidson has worked in the hospitality industry for more than 20 years. He has been worked in the chief engineer role for leading local hotels, including the Novotel Queenstown and the Grand Mercure St Moritz. Ken has also worked for hotels in Sydney, Auckland and the MacKenzie Country.

The organisation will be staffed by up to 200 full- and part-time employees across a range of functions from guest services and catering to engineering and audio-visual production and management.

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