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Our leadership team

Six Deputy Chief Executives report to our Chief Executive. Find out more about our leadership team and the work that they are responsible for.

Chief Executive

Read more about Debbie Power

Debbie Power

Debbie took up her role as Chief Executive, Ministry of Social Development (MSD), in February 2019.

She was previously the Statutory Deputy State Services Commissioner, at the State Services Commission.

Debbie started her public service career in 1980 as a frontline case manager at the then Department of Social Welfare.

Service Delivery

Read more about Viv Rickard

Viv Rickard - Deputy Chief Executive

Viv leads our Service Delivery group, which provides services to over one million New Zealanders.

His group is responsible for:

  • providing entitlements and services
  • designing and developing services
  • optimising channels
  • delivery of programmes
  • developing the regions
  • and managing service integrity.


Read more about Tamati Shepherd-Wipiiti

Tamati Shepherd-Wipiiti - Deputy Chief Executive

Tamati leads the team responsible for the design and implementation of our Te Pae Tawhiti programme, delivering a new service approach to meet the needs of clients and whānau. This group includes the capability to ensure change activity is managed across MSD, as well as the Improvement, Systems and Technology group.

Strategy and Insights

Read more about Sacha O'Dea

Sacha O’Dea – Deputy Chief Executive

Sacha heads the Strategy and Insights group which leads the development and implementation of MSD’s strategy by:

  • creating insights for effective decision making
  • focusing resources on the right investments
  • and understanding and evaluating performance.


Read more about Simon MacPherson

Simon MacPherson - Deputy Chief Executive

Simon leads the Policy branch. The branch provides policy advice on welfare system change and wider social development, as well as other areas including: income, employment and housing support; regional working; issues faced by seniors and people with a disability; child and youth-related policy; and international policy.

People and Capability

Read more about Nadine Kilmister

Nadine Kilmister- Deputy Chief Executive

Nadine leads People and Capability, which is responsible for providing corporate services (people, finance, procurement, property and facilities) that provide capability to MSD and shared corporate services for other agencies, and for hosting services for Historic Claims, the Independent Children’s Monitor and Te Kāhui Kāhu Social Services Accreditation. Nadine is also the sponsor for MSD’s 800-strong women’s network and oversees our Pā Harakeke (wellbeing at MSD) and flexible working programmes.

Organisational Assurance and Communication

Read more about Melissa Gill

Melissa Gill - Deputy Chief Executive

Melissa leads the Organisational Assurance and Communication group which is responsible for ensuring the overall integrity of MSD’s operations by making sure:

  • there is ongoing compliance with legislation and policy
  • communication with the public and stakeholders is effective
  • Ministers are supported.

Māori, Communities and Partnerships

Marama Edwards - DCE

Marama Edwards – Deputy Chief Executive

Marama leads the Māori, Communities and Partnerships group which is responsible for:

  • building capability across the organisation to support the aspirations of Māori
  • connecting and collaborating to build effective partnerships and community approaches that achieve better outcomes for those who most need our support.

Office of the Chief Executive

Read more about Tele'a Andrews

Tele'a Andrews – Director, Office of the Chief Executive

Tele’a leads the Office of the Chief Executive, which provides high level strategic, organisational and operational advice to Chief Executive Debbie Power, and manages key external relationships across the social sector as well as across the entire state sector.