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Management Team

Dr. Shaun Ryan | Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder // PhD

Shaun has over 10 years’ experience in search technologies. As a co-founder of the company, he was one of the developers of the company’s unique “Learning Search” site search technology. Shaun was also an original founder of GlobalBrain (in 1998), the search technology company which was bought by NBCi, in 2000. Shaun and his fellow founders formed SLI Systems, Inc and bought back the GlobalBrain technology. Prior to GlobalBrain, he worked as a contract software developer for a number of organisations, including the international health technology company Invacare. Shaun is a frequent speaker at conferences in the US, UK and Australia, and regularly posts insights on site search trends to the SLI blog. His retail search by-lines have been published in Chief Marketer, Multichannel Merchant and other online magazines. Shaun has a PhD in Artificial Intelligence from the University of Canterbury.

Dr. Wayne Munro | Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder // PhD

Wayne oversees SLI’s engineering team. He is responsible for the production and maintenance of the client searches as well as the development of the SLI products. Before joining the company, he held senior technical positions with NBCi and GlobalBrain, specializing in software development and theoretical research. Wayne also worked as a research scientist for the Wool Research Organisation of New Zealand. He has a PhD in engineering from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, where he developed new numerical models for structural simulation. Wayne has also published papers in international journals.

Michael Grantham | Operations Manager and Co-Founder // BSc

Michael is responsible for SLI’s global technology systems. As a co-founder of SLI, he has helped design and implement many of SLI’s products and infrastructure. Prior to SLI, he gained valuable experience in search and systems design at NBCi and GlobalBrain, where he was a lead developer and systems engineer. Michael has also held lead developer positions at Australia and New Zealand’s largest banks. He holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of Canterbury.

Rod Garrett | Chief Financial Officer // BCom (Hons)

Rod has 20 years’ experience in finance and related roles. He worked for Pricewaterhouse in New Zealand and London working mainly on insolvency and corporate recovery assignments before moving into the commercial sector. Before joining SLI in 2006, he was CFO of Christchurch electronics developer and manufacturer Eaton Power Quality Ltd. Rod originally worked for New Zealand owned Swichtec which was acquired by British company Invensys and, ultimately, by the Eaton group. He has an honours degree in accounting and finance from Otago University.

Tim Callan | Chief Marketing Officer

As CMO for SLI Systems, Tim is focused on driving sales growth within the e-commerce sector and increasing SLI’s market share with its SaaS-based search and navigation offerings. Tim previously served as CMO at RetailNext, a leading provider of in-store big data and analytics solutions, and as VP of marketing for online security leader Verisign, where he led the creation and launch of the Verisign Secured seal. Tim currently sits on the board of IT security company DigiCert and has served on the board of the Online Trust Alliance, a vendor-neutral organization dedicated to creating a more trustworthy online ecosystem. A 20-year technology industry veteran, Tim has also held marketing executive positions at Melbourne IT Digital Brand Services and Caere, which later became Nuance. Tim earned a bachelor’s degree with the highest honors from UCLA.

Neil Thomas | Chief Revenue Officer and President of North America // MBA, MSc

Neil is charged with spearheading the next wave of SLI’s growth and global expansion. He is responsible for SLI’s worldwide customer acquisition and success, business development and partner collaboration, as well as leadership of the business in North America. He has a near 20-year track record for developing highly successful global sales teams. Previously, as SVP of worldwide sales for cloud-based business analytics firm Adaptive Insights, Neil grew the company’s sales team from five to 150 and its customer base from launch to thousands of enterprises in 80+ countries. Neil has an MBA from Heriot Watt University and a master’s degree in accounting and finance from Thames Valley University.

Dr Blair Cassidy | Vice President of Product Management // PhD

Blair is responsible for product development and on-going product management. He has extensive experience leading high performance technical teams, focusing on the design, implementation and usage of highly scalable IT systems. Previously, he was VP of engineering at Eurekster, the pioneering social search company. He spent several years at PA Consulting Group, an international management consultancy, living and working throughout Asia and the USA. He also worked as the data engineer for the search product at NBCi. Blair has held research positions within New Zealand and Japanese institutions, and holds a PhD in computational modelling from Lincoln University.

Christopher Riland | Vice President of Customer Success

As vice president of customer success, Chris manages the growth and direction of SLI’s customer success group and works closely with the team to ensure the continual delivery of the company’s unique high-quality service and customer care. His responsibilities include building a team to handle tactical customer support, rolling out new customer implementations, and increasing customer retention. Before joining SLI’s executive team, Chris was director of customer success at SLI, where he transformed the customer success team into a worldwide support organisation. Before SLI, he was director of technical support at Actiance (formerly FaceTime Communications). As one of the original employees of FaceTime, Chris built the service/support group from scratch and played a key role in building the successful start-up. Chris has been building, leading, and driving customer satisfaction in the software and technology industry for the past 15 years.

Heather Kinghorn | Vice President of Human Resources

Heather has over 25 years’ experience in building highly effective HR programs in high-growth companies. She has been with SLI Systems since 2010 and leads the company in its organisational development, recruitment and strategic human resources planning. Prior to joining SLI, Heather spent more than 15 years in the built environment, which included working for one of the fastest growing global consulting engineering companies where she specialised in acquisitional growth, diversity management and conflict resolution. She was also part of the team making up the largest BEE engineering consulting business in Africa in 2001. In 2004, Heather was nominated as one of the most influential women in government whilst working as the skills development manager for the government-legislated Construction Education and Training Authority (CETA). In 2009, Heather was appointed as chairman of the Human Resources Forum for the South African Association of Engineers (SAACE). Heather holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial psychology and industrial sociology from Rhodes University, South Africa.