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Heartland chairman Geoff Ricketts passes away

Geoffrey Ricketts, the former chairman of Heartland Group Holdings, has passed away following a sudden illness.

Geoffrey (Geoff) Thomas Ricketts passed away on Friday (10 March) at the age of 75 following a short illness.

Mr Ricketts had been chairman at Heartland Group Holdings Limited (Heartland) since January 2011 but stepped down from his role last month as a result of ill health.

He passed away at home on Friday (10 March) surrounded by his family.

Mr Ricketts was a founding director of New Zealand-headquartered financial services group Heartland, having served as chair of Southern Cross Building Society before it merged to become Heartland New Zealand Limited (HNZ) in 2011.

He was appointed as chair in August 2013, a role he held until he stepped down last month. He remained a director of the company.

Heartland announced the loss of Mr Ricketts on Monday (13 March), with the board acknowledging his “outstanding contribution and commitment to Heartland”.

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In a statement, the group said: “In his time as chair, HNZ evolved to become the Heartland it is today, now a trans-Tasman, dual-listed financial services company providing banking and financial services to more than 130,000 customers, with a market cap in excess of $1 billion.

“Geoff’s strategic leadership, governance experience and wise advice to the board and management will be solely missed.”

In 2013, Mr Ricketts received the insignia of a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for Services to Education, the Arts and Business. 

In 2022, he was named a distinguished fellow of the Institute of Directors in New Zealand.

He was a strong supporter of community ad philanthropic activities and chaired Heartland’s registered charitable trust, the Heartland Trust.

Prior to joining Heartland, Mr Ricketts held various directorships and chairman roles with Suncorp Group New Zealand, Todd Corporation, Spotless Group, Oceania and Eastern Limited, Lion Nathan, and Mercury Capital Limited.

He is survived by his wife Fran, children, and grandchildren.

A requiem mass will be held at the Cathedral of Saint Patrick in Auckland at 2pm on Thursday (16 March) and the family is asking for donations to Mercy Hospice in lieu of flowers.

[Related: Heartland Group chairperson steps down]

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