Ann Brennan

MBIE Chief Counsel

Last Year – 28

Ann Brennan, LawFuel Power List member

Ann Brennan head the legal team at the powerful Ministry of Business and Innovation and Employment (MBIE) the highly influential civil service branch set up in 2012 to help power New Zealand’s economic development.

The pandemic has also been centre-stage for the department, dealing with the business support and contentious MIQ issues that have arisen during and after the lockdowns. The legal issues and policy-making implementation has made Ann Brennan a key figure in the legal delivery of the Government’s pandemic response.

A former senior counsel at Westpac and the Public Trust Ann Brennan is also a member of the Law Society’s Women’s Advisory Panel dealing with questions around unconscious bias training, reducing the attrition of women in the legal profession and other key issues, she retains a key leadership and advisory role within the profession as a powerful and successful lawyer.

Brennan’s role has been to assist the new organisation to become a cohesive ‘whole’ and to establish clear relationships with clients and suppliers. Wielding considerable power and influence the Ministry has responsibility towards over statutes, 17 regulatory systems and support over a dozen Minister.

She was reported as saying “Influencing is the ability to lead others outside your control so they make better decisions affecting you and your work.” Influencing approach when trying to get a team member or CEO to come to your way of thinking is much more effective than attempting to be authoritative, she said.

With a law firm litigation background and leading a team of around 80 lawyers and technical experts in the Ministry her role is remains on carrying significant legal influence and power within New Zealand.

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