Sharon is one of New Zealand’s best-known and respected business women. At the age of 22, she co-founded PC Direct which quickly became New Zealand’s largest and most successful homegrown personal computer company. After selling the company in 1997, she and Tenby Powell formed Hunter Powell Investments Partners Ltd (HPIP) in 1999. Their first acquisition was Continental Distributors, subsequently re-launched as euroPacific Foods. After more than doubling this business in size, it was sold to form Rakino Group (later re-named New Zealand Rental Group), a partnership with Goldman Sachs JB Were to purchase Hirepool, which they turned into a successful national business in just three years.
Sharon has extensive entrepreneurial and business experience comprising: high growth companies, M & A, private equity partnerships, banking and finance in leveraged environments, team and company culture development, marketing, communications & brand development, and strategic social responsibility partnerships.
Sharon is an experienced public speaker and has acted as a judge in the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards and the Verve Cliquot Business Women of the Year.
She is a member of the Advisory Board for Rugby World Cup 2011 (tasked with overseeing strategy, risk management and driving legacy & leverage outcomes) and an Investment Advisory Board Member on the Primary Growth Partnership (a government-industry initiative that invests in significant research and innovation programmes to boost the economic growth and sustainability of New Zealand’s primary, forestry and food sectors).
In May 2009, Sharon Hunter & Tenby Powell co-Chaired the NZ Entrepreneurial Summit, designed to generate ideas to jump-step the economy during the GFC. A white paper was developed for the NZ Government focusing on increased commercialization & IP management of Science, Research & Technology.
In addition to her business activities, Sharon is actively involved in the not-for-profit sector. She is a director of the Starship Foundation and past Chair and Board member of the Robin Hood Foundation.