Senior Leadership Team
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Sarah Fitt BPharm, DipMgmt
Sarah was appointed Chief Executive of Pharmac in January 2018, having been Pharmac’s Director of Operations since 2013.
Under Sarah’s leadership, Pharmac has:
- expanded the number and range of funded medicines available to New Zealanders
- widened access to currently funded medicines
- managed of funding medicines in all New Zealand public hospitals
- laid the groundwork for Pharmac to manage hospital medical devices.
Sarah is driving an improvement programme to make Pharmac’s decisions clearer and faster. She is committed to reducing inequities of access to funded medicines.
Before joining Pharmac, Sarah spent 12 years as Chief Pharmacist at Auckland Hospital and worked as a clinical pharmacist in the NHS specialising in HIV, intensive care and hepatology.
Sarah oversees the Senior Leadership Team and is directly answerable to the Pharmac Board.
Trevor Simpson (Tuhoe, Ngāti Awa)
Kaituruki Māori – Director Māori
Trevor joined Pharmac in October 2020 as Chief Advisor Māori. After more than nine years with the Health Promotion Forum, Trevor has been involved in raising the profile of Māori issues in several other vocations including Te Tiriti o Waitangi Settlement process, Māori social development work, and special youth projects. Previously an elected member of the Global Executive Board of the International Union for Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE) and Co-Chair of the International Network for Indigenous Health Promotion Practitioners, Trevor champions indigenous health development, health as a human right and Māori Public Health. He is also a National White Ribbon Ambassador, a cause to which he is firmly dedicated.
Trevor will ensure Pharmac receives Māori advice at a senior leadership level to inform and shape how we uphold our commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi. This includes a focus on health equity for Māori and the inclusion of mātauranga Māori across the organisation.
David Hughes MB, ChB, MM(HSM)(dist), FRACMA
Director Advice and Assessment and Chief Medical Officer
Prior to joining Pharmac, David had been working as the clinical lead of the adverse event learning programme at the Health Quality and Safety Commission. Over the last ten years, he has held a number of senior medical administration roles within the public hospital system in New Zealand. Originally working in mental health, he became increasingly drawn to addressing system quality and safety issues. He became a fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Medical Administrators in early 2018, having completed a Master of Management degree at Massey University.
He hails from Wales, arriving in New Zealand in 1993. He is the proud father of three adult sons who are all currently studying at university.
Catherine Epps MSc, BSc(Hons)
Director, Medical Devices
Catherine joined Pharmac as the Director, Medical Devices in August 2023.
Catherine has held senior leadership roles in public and private healthcare organisations in Aotearoa, for more than 10 years, including as Executive Director Allied Health, Scientific and Technical at Capital and Coast District Health Board. Since then, she has led a broad portfolio at WorkSafe including leading the regulator’s contribution to reducing harm to people’s health from the work they do, including Carcinogens, Mentally Healthy Work, and Musculoskeletal Harm.
Catherine is a Fellow of the Australasian College of Health Service Managers, and originally trained as a Speech-language Therapist working clinically with people with a range of disabilities. Catherine also enjoys a governance career with Board Director roles at Mary Potter Hospice, and as Deputy Chair of the Stroke Foundation NZ.
Geraldine MacGibbon PhD
Geraldine joined the Senior Leadership Team in 2023. She has extensive experience at Pharmac, having first joined the organisation in 2006. She has held a number of roles across the business, most recently as Manager of the Pharmaceutical Funding team.
Geraldine has a research background and holds a PhD in neuropharmacology. She also has experience in medical communications and marketing, and was fortunate to spend time in 2017 with New Zealand’s Ministry for Social Development where she led the development of a new employment and social outcomes investment strategy.
As Director, Pharmaceuticals, Geraldine oversees the work of the Pharmaceutical Funding and Procurement and Contracts teams. Together, these teams manage the funding of medicines, vaccines and medical devices from the CPB, as well as managing New Zealand’s funded COVID-19 vaccines and treatments.
Geraldine brings a strong strategic commercial focus to the role and is highly motivated by a drive to improve wellbeing and achieve equitable health outcomes for New Zealanders.
Director of Corporate Services and Financial Services
Kathryn joined Pharmac in July 2016 as a mentor for ICT management, bringing with her years of experience in public sector ICT management and Corporate Service functions. In 2017, Kathryn became the Head of ICT for Pharmac. In December 2021, Kathryn became the Director of Corporate and Financial Services.
As Director of Corporate and Financial Services, Kathryn oversees the Analysis team, Financial Services, Human Resources, ICT Services, Business Services and Legal.
Dr Nicola Ngawati (Ngāpuhi, Ngati Hine)
Director Equity and Engagement
Nicola joined Pharmac in July 2023. Nicola has extensive experience as a senior public servant working within the Crown/Māori and Pacific context. Recent roles include Director of the Office of the Chief Executive at Te Arawhiti overseeing the transition of CE’s and leading the Government’s response to the Mana Wāhine Kaupapa Inquiry as Director at Manatū Wāhine. Nicola has a keen interest in diversity and inclusion, EEO, equity/human rights, and has previously represented New Zealand as part of the diplomatic service (including postings in Belgium and the Cook Islands).
Nicola contributes mahi aroha in her roles as a Board member of Tāwhiri Festivals & Experiences and Endometriosis NZ, and was previously a Ministerial appointment to the Board of Diversity Works NZ. Nicola is a Member of the NZ Institute of Directors and holds a Doctor of Government (PhD) from Victoria University of Wellington.
Director Strategy, Policy and Performance
Michael joined Pharmac's senior leadership team in September 2017. His experience and knowledge of the health sector include 9 years working in various roles for the Ministry of Health – with the last 5 years working as Senior Health Advisor to the Minister of Health – and various roles with the NHS in Scotland.
As Director of Strategic Initiatives, Michael provides leadership and coordination of Pharmac’s strategy and related project work.