Dr Leith Oliver

PhD, MBA and MPhil with First Class Honours


Dr Leith Oliver is a facilitator and lecturer in the Business Schools Executive Programmes and the Department of Information Systems and Operations Management.

Along with others from The University of Auckland Leith also heads up the course development and delivery team for the business growth programmes offered by The ICEHOUSE. His work with The ICEHOUSE includes a role as an Executive in Residence, providing mentoring guidance and disciplines to start-up residents of the ICE Accelerator business incubator. He also delivers seminars on business planning and financial management to start-up companies. His work with the incubator includes analysis and design of the incubation processes and development of the internal operating systems of the ICE Accelerator.

He has a broad experience as an owner-manager of many businesses including companies engaged in housing construction, furniture manufacturing and exporting, and retailing. He has co-authored the book "Production Planning Systems Design" with Associate Professor Victor Portougal (Auckland) and is also lead author of the New Zealand "Small Business Book" (six editions), with Associate Professor John English (Canberra). In the course of his research and consultancy Leith currently works with many businesses in the areas of strategic planning and the development of management competencies in the fields of finance and accounting, sales and marketing, and operations management.

He has a PhD, an MBA and MPhil with First Class Honours from The University of Auckland. His PhD thesis is based on the design of facilitated learning events aimed at enabling business growth in New Zealand’s medium sized companies.

Special Interests:

SME Management & Growth; Entrepreneurship; Innovation

Research | Current

Personal research interests:
  • Management Competency and Development
  • SME Growth
  • Financial Management
  • Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • Electronic commerce
  • Enterprise systems
  • Operations strategy
  • Productivity management

Teaching | Current

Positions Held:
From To Institution Position Held
2001 Now The ICEHOUSE Academic Director & Executive in Residence
1995 Now University of Auckland Professional Teaching Fellow
1992 1995 Unitec Institute of Technology Senior Lecturer
---- BUSADMIN 733 Innovation & Entrepreneurship
---- BUSADMIN 776 Operations & Supply Chain Management
---- BUSADMIN 780 Managing Business Growth
---- INFOMGMT 391 Information Systems Management
---- MGMT 722 Organisational Change & Innovation
---- OPSMAN 601 Strategic Operations
---- OPSMAN 703 Operations Management
---- OPSMGT 357 Project Management


Postgraduate supervision

PhD Candidates:

Sam Airy (Entrepreneurship - Faculty of Education)

Franziska Gues (Hierarchical Production Planning - ISOM Department)


2010 Teaching Excellence Award - University of Auckland
1998 Lecturing Excellence Award - Unitec
1998 Staff Excellence Award - Unitec
1997 Excellence in Teaching Award - Unitec



Director/Coordinator Masters Programme in Commercialisation and Entrepreneurship

Areas of expertise

  • Entrepreneurship
  • Business Start-Ups
  • Managing Growth from Small (< $1million) to Medium (up to $100million) Enterprises
  • Strategic Thinking and Planning
  • Innovation and Design in Product, Process, Business Model, and Market Connectivity
  • Business Performance Analysis and Turnarounds
  • Operations and Production Planning
  • Financial Management

Committees/Professional groups/Services

  • Advisor to ICEHOUSE Start-up companies
  • Course Design and Development for the ICEHOUSE
  • Franchise Association of New Zealand National Awards Judge 1996/1997
  • South Canterbury Business Awards Judge 2009/2014
  • Westpac Business Awards Judge 2014
  • Taupo Lakes District Business Awards Judge 2011/2013
  • Presenter on EY's Entrpreneurial Women's Programme 2014
  • Chair of Advisary Board - International Foods Ltd 2011/2014
  • Chair of Advisory Board - Hortus Ltd
  • Business Advisor - Carson Construction Engineers Ltd 2013/2014
  • Business Advisor - Awarua Trust 2013/2014
  • NZQA Degree Approval Panelist Tai Poutini Polytech 2014
  • Spark Advisor to Student Finalists

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Oliver, L., & English, J. (2011). The Small Business Book - A New Zealand Guide for the 21st Century (6th ed.). Sydney: Allen & Unwin. Pages: 344. Related URL.
  • Oliver, L. (2010). The Innovation Imperative: for New Zealand to become more competitive in global markets and boost its economic prosperity, we need to become masters of innovation at a global level. NZ Business, 24 (11), 36-37.
  • Oliver, L. (2007). Enabling business growth : key design elements for educational programmes aimed at enabling growth in owner-managed, medium-sized New Zealand businesses University of Auckland. ResearchSpace@Auckland.
  • Oliver, L. (2007). The Small Business Book - A New Zealand Guide for the 21st Century (5th ed.). Australia: Allen & Unwin. Pages: 300.

Contact details

Primary office location

Level 4, Room 475
New Zealand