Cure Kids announces the appointment of Franceska Banga as Chair of the Board

30/10/2020

Cure Kids, the largest charitable funder of child health research in New Zealand, today announced the appointment of Franceska Banga, ONZM, as Chair of its Board. Franceska succeeds Roy Austin, who served on the board for more than 23 years and has stepped down as part of his retirement plan.

Franceska is a recognised CEO, Chair and Director who has held board roles on many prominent New Zealand organisations. She brings extensive governance experience, spanning finance, technology and health sectors.

Cure Kids CEO Frances Benge says the appointment is a significant moment in the history of the organisation.

“We are delighted to have someone of Franceska’s calibre take up the mantle. Franceska’s strong professional background will play a critical role in helping Cure Kids continue to shift the dial in child health,” says Benge.

While typically known for her financial and investment expertise, Franceska also has a strong background in health.  She originally trained as an occupational therapist where she spent much of her time working in paediatrics. Later, she was appointed as Director of Health at NZ Treasury, overseeing the Health Budget.

As the founding Chief Executive of the New Zealand Venture Investment Fund, Franceska managed $300 million of funds under management, overseeing an investment into a portfolio of 200+ high growth New Zealand companies and catalysing over $2 billion of public and private investment into those companies.

Franceska’s governance experience includes  roles as Trustee and Chair of Audit Committee of Fred Hollows Foundation NZ, Director Continuity Capital NZ, Independent of Director Constellation Capital, Chair Fab Group (Caci NZ), Independent Director Frogparking, Future Director appointee, Fisher and Paykel Healthcare, Director and Chair of the Audit Committee of Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED).

In 2016 Franceska was made an Officer of the NZ Order of Merit, for services to business and the community.

“I am honoured to be appointed as Chair of the Cure Kids Board,” said Franceska. “As the largest child health research funder outside Government, Cure Kids plays a vital role in addressing some of the big health issues affecting kiwi children, including diseases of social deprivation and child poverty.

“A key priority for Cure Kids, alongside our existing research, is to work closely with Government to address the effects of social deprivation on child health and illnesses such as rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease.”

Cure Kids pays tribute to outgoing Chair, Roy Austin, who also served as Chair of Cure Kids Fiji for 14 years, and of Cure Kids Ventures since 2011. He is an active member of Rotary, has been made a Paul Harris Fellow and been honoured with a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to children’s health and the community.

“I am deeply grateful to Roy for his strong vision, dedication, and passion over the years. He has made a significant contribution to the health of our tamariki,” says Benge.