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Our People

Kia ora, meet our dedicated team

At Leighs, we take pride in our strong governance and leadership. 

With Gary Walker at the business's helm, an independent board of skilled leaders and thinkers, and passionate executive and senior leadership teams, we bring regional governance, experience, and sound direction to each project. 

We are successful because of our people, so come and say hi.

Gary Walker

Chief Executive Officer

Gary Walker

Executive Team

Gary is an accomplished and internationally experienced commercial construction leader who possesses a wide range of skills and experience developed through project and executive leadership roles in Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

David Jarman

Group Chief Financial Officer

David Jarman

Executive Team

David is Group Chief Financial Officer at Leighs, with expertise in construction, finance, manufacturing, telecommunications and retail sectors, having worked in the UK, USA, Asia and New Zealand. With his background in developing businesses, David’s experience has contributed to Leighs’ considered growth and sustainability as the company has expanded and taken on new projects throughout New Zealand.

Dave Hunter

General Manager Construction

Dave Hunter

Executive Team

Dave Hunter is well known and respected in the construction industry for his technical innovation, methodology development, and problem solving on complex projects.

Mike Knowles

Regional Manager - South Island

Mike Knowles

Executive Team

Mike has worked in the construction industry in Christchurch for the past 30 years and with Leighs for over 15.
As Regional Manager Mike oversees all operations and tenders for the South Island.

John Redahan

North Island QS Manager

John Redahan

Senior Leadership Team

John is a very experienced quantity surveyor, with over 30 years in the commercial construction industry.
John has a reputation for working innovatively to achieve outstanding outcomes within a capped budget.

Daniel Tessier

Project Director

Daniel Tessier

Senior Leadership Team

Danny is an empowering team leader, with communication skills, and passion that are an asset to any project he is involved with.

Jeff Macdonald

South Island - Operations Manager

Jeff Macdonald

Senior Leadership Team

With more than thirty years experience in the construction industry, Jeff is a highly capable Operations Manager and Project Director.

Imogen Visser

Communications Manager

Imogen Visser

Senior Leadership Team

With several years experience across marketing and communications, Imogen brings her passion for storytelling to Leighs, to share our business and people with you.

Sue Henkel

Financial Controller

Sue Henkel

Senior Leadership Team

Sue qualified in the UK and has over thirteen years’ service to Leighs Construction.
Sue is a valued member of our Senior Leadership Team.

Rebecca Mitchell

Group Finance Manager

Rebecca Mitchell

Senior Leadership Team

Rebecca is a Chartered Management Accountant with a range of industry experience in manufacturing and export, heavy equipment machinery and finance.
As Group Finance Manager, Rebecca is responsible for managing and controlling all financial related activities at Leighs Construction.

Jen Kean

National Business Improvement and Assurance Manager

Jen Kean

Senior Leadership Team

Jen has over 35 years’ industry experience in both NZ and overseas. As National Business Improvement and Assurance Manager Jen completes internal operational and financial reviews, is the Leighs Council liaison, Chair of the Health and Safety Committee, and oversees the Leighs Mental Health First Aiders. Jen is a skilled and experienced project manager that has a broad set of capabilities that range from development, general contracting, client facing, and commercial fitout processes.

James Dennis

Project Director - Building Services

James Dennis

Senior Leadership Team

James oversees a team of Building Services Coordinators who are working on a wide range of projects within Christchurch and the wider South Island providing leadership and guidance to ensure that a consistent approach is adopted to delivering the Building Services package. James is passionate about integrated project delivery, using design management to drive collaborative teams and embracing the realities of BIM and digital engineering to create project efficiencies and customer focused solutions.

Neil Hamilton

IT and Process Improvement Manager

Neil Hamilton

Senior Leadership Team

Neil has over 20 years of IT construction experience managing large digital transformation projects in New Zealand and the UK.
Neil is responsible for ensuring Leighs network infrastructure and associated systems run smoothly and providing a secure platform for the company's business operations.

Rob Abraas

National Health and Safety Manager

Rob Abraas

Senior Leadership Team

As National Health and Safety Manager, Rob is committed to designing and implementing systems to ensure the people of Leighs have the greatest opportunity to go home healthy and safe every day.
Our Health and Safety team take a hands-on approach with our projects to drive continuous safety improvement and exceptional staff engagement.

Arie Moore

Legal and Commercial Manager

Arie Moore

Senior Leadership Team

Dean Velenski

National QS Manager

Dean Velenski

Senior Leadership Team

In addition to providing commercial governance to Leighs projects, Dean has proven experience managing the financial aspects of complex commercial projects, with specific experience in the health sector.

Iain Miller

Project Director

Iain Miller

Senior Leadership Team

With more than 20 years of commercial, project and cost management experience, Iain is highly experienced in directing complex projects of scale within challenging environments.
Iain is currently leading the charge on our Scott Base Redevelopment project.

Anthony Leighs

Executive Director

Anthony Leighs

Board of Directors

Founder and previous Managing Director of Leighs Construction, Anthony has moved to an Executive Director governance and strategic role for the company.
From its inception in 1995, Anthony has led Leighs Construction to become the successful and well-respected commercial construction company it is today. His abilities have been recognised within the construction industry, and he was winner of the NZIOB Young Achiever in 2002 and joint winner of the NZIOB Supreme and Innovation Awards in 2005. In 2011, he was awarded commendation at the EY Entrepreneur of the Year awards.

Mark Darrow

Chairman

Mark Darrow

Board of Directors

Mark Darrow is an experienced businessman and professional director, specialising in corporate governance. Mark chairs Armstrong Motor Group, Signum Holdings, Primary ITO and The Lines Company and is a Director for Trustees & Executors and Balle Brothers Group.
Mark is a previous board member of the New Zealand Transport Agency, the Counties-Manukau District Health Board and chaired the Finance & Audit Committee for both organisations. He is a 25-year member of the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants and is a Justice of the Peace of New Zealand.

Brian Nightingale

Non-Executive Director

Brian Nightingale

Board of Directors

Brian Nightingale is director of Building and Construction Services Limited and a past member of the Building Practitioners Board. Brian is involved with Registered Master Builders, the New Zealand Institute of Quantity Surveyors and the New Zealand Institute of Builders. Brian has more than 35 years of experience and has been involved in numerous high profile projects, including the redevelopment of Eden Park for the Rugby World Cup, the refurbishments of the Beehive and The Old Government Buildings, earthquake strengthening of the Rankin Browne and Hunter buildings at Victoria University and the Bond Store on Wellington’s Queens Wharf.

Anna Cassels-Brown

Non-Executive Director

Anna Cassels-Brown

Board of Directors

Anna has had a long executive career with some of New Zealand’s most recognisable companies including Air New Zealand, Fonterra, Refining NZ and Landcorp, as well as directorships in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors. While a relative newcomer to the construction contracting industry, Anna has sat on the other side of the table as client representative for significant build programmes, and brings a strong customer service focus. Anna was appointed to the Board of Leighs in April 2022.

Paul Duffy

Non-Executive Director

Paul Duffy

Board of Directors

Paul has over 35 years’ experience in the property industry, including CEO/Managing Director of DNZ Property Fund for 13 years. During his career, Paul held positions as GM of Fletcher Property and was Joint Managing Director of the US Real Estate Subsidiaries for the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority. In this role, he oversaw the formation of a large real estate investment portfolio in the US and Europe. Paul is currently a Director of a number of private companies.

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