Farewelling our wonderful CEO, Alex Hannant

Today we publicly announced that our wonderful CE, Alex Hannant, is stepping down, and will be replaced by our General Manager Louise Aitken.

This is a huge change for Ākina and it comes with a whole bag of mixed emotions. After six years, we’re sad to say goodbye to Alex at the end of the year. He’s been an incredible force in our team, and has been an exceptional leader, having some of the deepest and broadest knowledge of social enterprise out of anyone we’ve met.

It was a proud moment for us seeing the success of all the hard work of the Social Enterprise World Forum core organising team in September, and to see our very own Alex Hannant and Louise Aitken delivering powerful messages about social enterprise in New Zealand. It really was a testament to how far Ākina has come, and how well we all work together.

Alex has always been passionate about positive change. Before Ākina, Alex was Director of Programmes at LEAD – a global network focused on leadership and sustainable development. He was also Head of Partnerships, and a member of the senior management team, at the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) – a global initiative providing technical advice and services on climate change and development to decision makers in developing countries.

He brought this passion to Ākina, with the hope to create an organisation that was a home for talented, committed, and compassionate people that wanted to break barriers and drive meaningful change.

Over the past six years, Alex has aimed to accelerate transition to a sustainable, prosperous, and inclusive New Zealand through the development of talent, partnerships, and social enterprise. He wanted to see Ākina support, at scale, individuals and ventures making a real difference.

Talking to Alex, he says that in retrospect his goals at Ākina were to:

  • Increase innovation capability in the field of sustainability and social change.
  • Build the national narrative around social enterprise and entrepreneurship.
  • Facilitate the investment and infrastructure that could build a new economy ecosystem in NZ.
  • Support, at scale, individuals and ventures making a real difference.

There’s no doubt that we’ve achieved these as a team, with Alex’s leadership – and we’ve all learned a lot on the journey. From the whole of the Ākina team, thank you for all that you’ve done.

Now, we’re excited to see Louise step into the role of Chief Executive. We can’t wait to see what she’ll do from here.

For the full announcement, see the press release.