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The Treasury's Leadership Team Profiles

Page updated 9 Nov 2016

Gabriel Makhlouf – Secretary and Chief Executive

Gabriel Makhlouf – Secretary  and Chief ExecutiveGabriel Makhlouf is the Treasury Secretary and Chief Executive. He is the Government’s chief economic and financial adviser, and leads the Treasury’s work to help raise living standards for New Zealanders through a stable, growing economy, and a high performing public service.

Gabriel’s career was previously in the UK civil service where his responsibilities ranged from policy development on domestic and international tax and welfare policy issues through to large-scale, customer-focused, operational delivery. He was Chair of the world’s main tax rule-making body – the Committee on Fiscal Affairs – at the OECD in Paris between 2000-2004 and was also responsible for the UK’s Government Banking Service. He led the UK team that negotiated the current US/UK double tax treaty and served as Principal Private Secretary to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. 

Gabriel has a Bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Exeter and a Master’s degree in industrial relations from the University of Bath, and is an alumnus of international business school INSEAD’s Advanced Management Programme. The son of UN diplomats, Gabriel grew up in the Pacific and speaks French and Greek. He is married with one adult son.

Cath Atkins – Deputy Secretary, Macroeconomics and Growth

Cath Atkins – Deputy Secretary, Growth & Public  ServicesCath Atkins is the Treasury’s Deputy Secretary, Macroeconomics and Growth. She leads the Treasury’s work to raise living standards through policy advice on settings to promote economic growth and a stable macroeconomic environment. Specific policy areas include education and skills, the labour market and welfare, infrastructure, natural resources, regulation, financial markets, international connections, housing affordability, macroeconomic policy and fiscal forecasting.

Cath has held a range of senior leadership positions since joining the Treasury in 1999, most recently including Deputy Secretary, Strategy, Change & Performance. Her work has spanned policy areas ranging from market intervention, growth, competition policy and regulation to labour markets, welfare and State sector performance. She was responsible for setting up the New Zealand Productivity Commission, and has represented New Zealand at APEC and the OECD. Cath was part of the team that led development of the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Act, the legislation for mutual recognition of employment standards and occupations, supporting closer economic ties between New Zealand and Australia.

In 2014 she was seconded to MBIE as Deputy Chief Executive of Labour Environment, covering a range of areas including health and safety, financial markets, labour market issues and ACC policy.

With a background in economics and international trade, Cath holds Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in commerce and management from Lincoln University. A sports enthusiast, in 2012 Cath completed the Oxfam non-stop 100 kilometre walk.

Fiona Ross – Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Secretary, Strategy, Performance & Engagement

Fiona Ross – Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Secretary, Strategy, Performance & EngagementFiona re-joined the Treasury in 2011. She helps to raise living standards by overseeing work on New Zealand's economic and fiscal strategy, ensuring the Treasury operates effectively as an organisation and providing shared corporate services to central agencies.

Fiona has over 20 years' experience in the public service, with particular expertise in state sector reform. After initial positions at the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Women's Affairs, Fiona joined the Treasury as a senior policy analyst in 2000. In 2002 she moved to the UK where she held various roles in the civil service, including leading major change initiatives focused on efficiency gains and service improvements. Originally, Fiona returned to the Treasury to lead the Better Public Services Programme, the Government's flagship programme to improve outcomes for New Zealanders.

Fiona holds an Honours degree in Arts and a Master's degree in Public Policy, both from Victoria University of Wellington. She has been actively involved with a number of not-for-profit groups focused on the issues of sexual abuse and women's sport and fitness.

Brendon Doyle – Deputy Secretary, Financial & Commercial Operations

Brendon Doyle – Deputy Secretary, Financial & Commercial OperationsBrendon is responsible for the Financial Operations and Commercial Operations Groups.  Financial Operations includes the New Zealand Debt Management (NZDMO) and Export Credit Offices, as well as the Balance Sheet and Investment Management & Asset Performance teams, and helps to raise living standards by ensuring the Crown’s balance sheet is managed in an efficient and effective manner.

The NZDMO plays a critical role in the economy, overseeing the Government's borrowing requirements in a way that minimises costs while keeping risk at an appropriate level. The Export Credit Office provides financial guarantee products for New Zealand exporters and banks, helping exporters to manage risk and capitalise on trade opportunities around the world.   The office has supported more than $1 billion of total exports since it was established.

The Balance Sheet team was responsible for the production of the 2014 Investment Statement and will coordinate the subsequent execution of the areas of focus.  The Investment Management & Asset Performance team is responsible for the Government Investment portfolio, better business cases and assurance.

Commercial Operations is responsible for policy and transactions relating to the government’s social housing reform programme, for the performance, board appointments, and governance of the Crown's portfolio of commercial and financial assets, for the government's programme of Public Private Partnerships (PPPs), and for commercial advice on other transactions including company restructurings. 

Brendon first joined the Treasury in 1993, and was Head of Portfolio Management from 1999 to 2002. Prior to rejoining the Treasury in 2012, his most recent role was with Westpac in Australia as Managing Director of its Global Capital Markets business.

Struan Little – Deputy Secretary, Budget and Public Services

Struan Little – Deputy Secretary, Budget and Public ServicesStruan is an economist with over 30 years of experience in finance and public sector management.

Struan first joined the Treasury in 1987, after completing his postgraduate diploma in Economics at Otago University. Several years later he served as the head of a delegation that was sent to the International Monetary Fund and World Bank to represent New Zealand’s economic interests and ensure these organisations took into account the interests of small countries.

Since then he has served in a range leadership roles across Government; including, with the Ministry of Education and most recently serving as Inland Revenue’s Deputy Commissioner of Policy & Strategy.

During his time at Inland Revenue, Struan worked with the senior management team to implement changes designed to modernise tax. This involved fundamental changes to both operations and technology. As part of this work, Struan was responsible for design of the future tax administration framework.

He has also held advisory roles in the Office of the Minister of Finance and at the World Bank in Washington D.C.

Struan re-joined the Treasury in 2016 as Deputy Secretary Budget and Public Services. In this capacity he leads the Treasury’s work to raise living standards by:

  • helping ensure Government’s finances are well managed
  • overseeing advice in the areas of justice, security, health, earthquake coordination and public sector performance
  • delivering the Government’s annual Budget. 

Struan is a tramping and fly fishing enthusiast who combines his love of travel with the opportunity to get into the outdoors.

Tony Burton – Acting Chief Economist

Tony Burton – Acting Chief EconomistAs Acting Chief Economist, Tony oversees the Treasury's research and advice on broad economic policy issues, embedding the living standards framework and developing economics capability at the Treasury.

Tony joined the Treasury in 2007 and has had extensive experience leading policy development on welfare, poverty, labour market and the social sector issues. He was seconded to the Secretariat of the Welfare Working Group from 2010-2011.

His work now is focused on improving the knowledge base for policy; including, policy focused research, the use of ‘big data’ and improving our understanding of non-government social sector providers.

He worked as an academic researching game theory and perceptions of risk at the Universities of East Anglia, Newcastle and Leeds in the UK. Before joining the Treasury he was an Economic Advisor at the UK Ministry of Health and the New Zealand Ministry of Social Development.

Tony has a Bachelor's degree in economics and philosophy from the University of Southampton and a Master's and PhD in economics from the University of East Anglia.

His spare time is shared with his partner Liz, looking after their energetic 8-year-old daughter and extremely lazy cat.

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