New Chair for Viclink's Board

Published Apr 24, 2018

David Smol has been appointed Chair of Viclink, and is expected to further accelerate Victoria University's commercilisation activities. 

Mr Smol, who was the founding Chief Executive of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) from its formation in 2012 through until 2017, will Chair the Viclink Board of Directors for a three-year term. 

Victoria University Vice-Chancellor Professor Grant Guilford has welcomed the appointment, saying the University is extremely pleased to have someone of Mr Smol’s calibre and experience to head its commercialisation activities. 

“Mr Smol’s expertise will be invaluable to Victoria University as we continue to step up our work in the areas of commercialisation and entrepreneurship. As a global-civic university, we are focused on contributing to our communities and to the resolution of national and international challenges. Translating the research carried out by our world-leading staff into products and services that can address these challenges is a high priority for Victoria. 

Mr Smol’s considerable experience in economic development, investment planning and delivery in both the public and private sectors will ensure Viclink is well positioned to help achieve the University’s goals.” 

David Smol says he is delighted to have this opportunity to work with Viclink. 

“Along with other directors, the Viclink Board will work to further enhance the positive impact the University has though innovation, commercialisation and entrepreneurship for the Wellington region and New Zealand as a whole.” 

Prior to becoming the founding Chief Executive of MBIE, Mr Smol was Chief Executive of the Ministry of Economic Development. He has also spent time at the New Zealand Treasury and in a range of roles in the energy industry and has worked in the private sector, predominantly in the United Kingdom.

As Chief Executive of MBIE, Mr Smol was instrumental in advancing a Māori economic strategy through He Kai Ki Aku Ringa, the Māori-Crown economic partnership, experience that aligns closely with Victoria University’s growing partnerships with iwi to support their economic development. 

Mr Smol has an M-Phil from Cambridge University, is a member of the Institute of Directors and, in 2018, was made a Companion of the Queen’s Service Order. He is a long time Wellingtonian and is married with three children. 

Mr Smol replaces Professor Kate McGrath, Victoria University’s Vice-Provost (Research) as chair of the Viclink board. Professor McGrath is taking up a new role as Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research, at the University of Technology, Sydney. 

For more information please contact Katherine Edmond, Associate Director, Communications on katherine.edmond@vuw.ac.nz or phone 04 463 6017 or 027 563 6017.