New Zealand Asian Leaders

Kayo Sakey Business Transformation for a Sustainable Future

  • Accommodation and Food Services

Kayo creates “tomorrow’s organisations” out of today’s. Her successful business track record is built on cross cultural agility, curiosity and Japanese values coupled with Kiwi can-do attitude.

It spans across the food and the primary industries, encompassing marketing, innovation and global business development as well as general management and P&L responsibilities at Fonterra and its predecessors. She also led business transformation strategies in biosecurity, biodiversity and traceability for public/private partnerships.

Kayo is known for a strategic partnership approach and an effective use of science and information technology e.g. turning a loss-making technology incubator into a profitable business, doubling a global business size by achieving an average 20 % per annum growth and creating a new digital traceability tool for farmers. Currently, she is driving business transformation for a start-up Agritech company focused on environmental sustainability (water and climate change) and to help lift the value of NZ brands overseas.

As the Chair of NZAL Wellington, she promoted the benefits of diversity and has spoken at the NZ Institute of International Affairs (NZIIA) Conference on Diversity and Inclusion. Her governance experience includes chairing an innovation portfolio management group, co-chairing a steering committee of a business partnership and being on a new venture assessment panel. Kayo is also on the selection panel of the YWCA E Hine Funds for young wāhine. 

Kayo’s achievements have been recognised in the areas of leadership, innovation, collaboration and governance e.g. IITP Excellence in IT Awards, the NZ Dairy Industry Management Development Awards, the NZ Dairy Industry Management Development Award and the Top Diverse Emerging Director 2021 by Superdiversity Institute/Ministry for Ethnic Communities.