College – Issue 41

BUSINESS BANTER Giving a good account to nutting out a career

IT innovator Alastair Grigg has played a core role in powering multibillion-dollar online accounting software company Xero to international eminence while Fix & Fogg co-founder Roman Jewell has whipped up a winning nut butter business recipe. Both have shared their journey and experience with our College community at our popular Business Banter events.

Alastair Grigg Known for his ability to adapt and navigate an ever-changing online environment, Old Boy Alastair Grigg (9834) has helped reshape the technology scene, driving ground-breaking projects for leading companies in the United Kingdom and New Zealand. The former College Head Prefect, who attended College from 1981– 1985, joined IBM after graduating from Massey University with a Bachelor of Horticultural Science (Hons). “The initial appeal of the computer industry was just the newness of technology and the potential it offered,” Alastair, 53, recalls of his early career switch to IT despite his family’s farming background. “There was just the sense of excitement about what appeared to be a whole new emerging sector.” His instinct for technology resulted in a rise to senior roles with a raft of companies, including corporate start-up Telecom Xtra, early web application developer

“I finished at Air New Zealand and started at Xero the very next day, working with co-founder Rod Drury, who I knew from my early internet days,” he recalls. Initially, Alastair took on the role of Chief Operating Officer and eventually moved to overseeing new ventures and partnerships for one of the country’s most successful businesses. After 11 years, it was time for a change, and, in 2018, Alastair opted to go it alone. Today, Alastair is an investor and advisor to a range of start- ups while also having a keen interest in how we create learning experiences outside the core curriculum that develop skills to better understand risk and build careers in a rapidly changing world. He credits College with “pushing me outside my comfort zone and helping me understand what I was capable of achieving, along with ensuring I developed a level of resilience and adaptability, giving me the ability to deal with different and sometimes challenging work environments”.

Glazier Systems and a stint in London with Utilyx, establishing an online energy procurement platform. In 2003, he returned home to Air New Zealand as Chief Information Officer, helping lead the redevelopment of its online booking platform before becoming an early investor and founding employee in Xero.

Christ’s College Canterbury


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