• Home
  • News
  • EIT Chief Executive Chris Collins departs after 18 years at the helm

EIT Chief Executive Chris Collins departs after 18 years at the helm

December 10, 2022

Chris Collins will leave EIT after 18 years as Chief Executive.

EIT’s long-serving Chief Executive Chris Collins will leave the institute at the end of the month after 18 years at the helm.

Mr Collins has been Chief Executive of EIT since 2004 and when EIT became a business division of Te Pūkenga in November this year, he became EIT Executive Transitional Lead of the EIT Business Division of Te Pūkenga. He was also the interim CEO of the New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology (now Te Pūkenga) when it was first established in April 2020, and previously chaired the NZ Institute of Technology CEO Group for some years. Mr Collins will finish at EIT on 31 December 2022 at the completion of his contract.

He says it has been a real privilege to serve as CE of EIT over the last 18 years.

“It has been the highlight of my professional life. I feel very fortunate to have worked with so many capable and passionate people. EIT has long been regarded as one of New Zealand’s leading Institutes of Technology.”

“It has been a wonderful journey and it is with very mixed emotions, and some reluctance, that I step away. But the time has finally come.”

During his time at EIT Mr Collins led the merger of Tairāwhiti Polytechnic and EIT Hawke’s Bay in 2011; the establishment of the very successful Auckland International Graduate Campus in 2014; and building EIT’s reputation as a research institute; among other things.

“Bringing Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti together was a real highlight. It was bringing together two regions and two institutions that made us a much stronger institution overall, and both parties to the marriage brought real strengths to the relationship.”

“I’m also very proud of the distributed, widespread delivery EIT does right across the region, from Hick’s Bay down to Porangahau – there’s classes, tutors and web-based learning occurring right across our rohe. That sort of regional distributed outreach into small communities and remote locations is unmatched in New Zealand.”

Mr Collins said EIT had a “genuinely deep portfolio” across the qualification framework from foundation right through to masters programmes, in a variety of face-to-face, on-line, work-based learning and blended delivery modes.

“Our goal was always to provide quality programmes across that qualification framework so that people didn’t have to leave town.”

High Māori participation and success across EIT has also been a feature of EIT that means a lot to Mr Collins.

“It is one of the highest in New Zealand, and it’s been something we’ve taken as one of our serious priorities. We’ve still got to get better, but I think that’s been one of the success stories here too.”

Mr Collins says the delivery of an international educational offering offshore has also been an important development in recent years, particularly into China.

“It’s also pleasing that EIT finished in a very strong financial position, with solid financial cash reserves,” notes Mr Collins.

Before he joined EIT, Mr Collins spent 17 years employed in the University sector, at both Victoria and Massey Universities, before taking up executive roles in the Institute of Technology sector in 2002 and as CEO at EIT in 2004.

The chair of the former EIT Board of Directors, Hilton Collier, paid tribute to Mr Collins, saying he had contributed hugely to the success of EIT during the past 18 years.

“I think that because Chris is such a good leader, he will do incredibly well wherever he decides to go and whatever he decides to apply his energies to”.

“We think Chris has been an important reason for our success.”

A former Chair of the former EIT Council, Geraldine Travers, says Mr Collins has put EIT on the map.

“Chris has been amazing and has been so well regarded in the sector. He has been the go-to person and has willingly given of his expertise to Te Pūkenga.”

Dave Christiansen, the former Chief Executive of Wintec who has been working on subsidiary transitions at Te Pūkenga, will pick up from Mr Collins in an interim role as Te Pūkenga rolls out new leadership structures across the network.

Mr Collins has begun briefing Mr Christiansen in the last few days and will continue the process over the next few weeks.

As for the future, Mr Collins will continue on in a number of governance roles, but is also hoping to have more time for surfing, diving and sailing.

A full farewell will be held for Mr Collins in January next year.