Executive Team

Tony “Goldie” Goldfinch – Chief Executive

Email: tony.goldfinch@lionfoundation.org.nz

Tony (widely known as Goldie) has clocked up over 20 years within the New Zealand Hospitality Industry. He joined The Lion Foundation in September 2007, and was part of our Central Region and South Island Operation’s teams before shifting into his current role. Prior to TLF, Goldie held various roles within Lion Nathan. Goldie believes that the heart of hospitality is the people, and enjoys spending time with our operators and stakeholders, listening and making sure we are adding value and addressing issues where we can. Born and bred in Napier, Goldie is a proud Hawke’s Bay man, and lives there with his wife and two children.

Rachael Dent – Organisational Performance Manager

Email: rachael.dent@lionfoundation.org.nz

Rachael joined The Lion Foundation in April 2010 having held a number of management positions at Auckland Council. You could say Rachael is fairly serious about her role as she has a Diploma in General & Applied Psychology and a Graduate Diploma in Business Studies with an HR endorsement. Rachael is also currently completing a Business Management degree in Employment Relations. Rachael’s role as Organisational Performance Manager aims to enhance the organisation’s greatest asset, our people.  Rachael is married with three children and is passionate about her family and her local community – as she proudly represents West Auckland.

Samantha “Sam” AlexanderCompliance Manager

Email: sam.alexander@lionfoundation.org.nz

Sam emigrated to New Zealand from South Africa with her family in 2008.  She holds two legal degrees and a diploma from the University of the Witwatersrand (B. Proc; LLB; Diploma in Corporate Law). Sam was admitted as an Attorney and Conveyancer of the High Court of South Africa, and managed her own private practice for over ten years.  In 2016, Sam was admitted as a Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court in New Zealand.  Sam joined The Lion Foundation in February 2019, after a number of years at the New Zealand Maritime Museum in Auckland, most recently as the Head of Operations and Finance.  Sam is married with two children and loves horse riding, walking, tramping, mowing lawns and binge-watching Netflix – plus lots and lots of reading.

Rob Cooney – Chief Financial Officer

Email: rob.cooney@lionfoundation.org.nz

Originally from the mighty Waikato, Rob is a chartered accountant with over a decade’s experience in corporate finance, accounting and management. More recently Rob held a role as a Finance & Commercial Director with Intrepid Group (based in North America), but after 10 years in both Australia and Canada, Rob joined The Lion Foundation team in January 2020. Rob oversees all aspects of the organisation’s financial obligations with a hardworking team behind him. Rob enjoys getting outdoors hiking, craft beer and anything sport-related. One of Rob’s passions is aviation and he currently learning to fly.


Philip “Phil” Steele – National Operations Manager

Email: philip.steele@lionfoundation.org.nz

Born and raised in Hamilton, Phil moved to the UK in 1993 where he worked in the Hospitality Industry for a number of years managing pubs and taverns throughout London and Kent.  Phil joined The Lion Foundation in January 2002, and was initially based in Wellington managing the relationships with venue operators in the lower North Island regions, before taking a position in the Bay of Plenty in 2011. In 2015, Phil was appointed as the Northern Regional Manager managing Taupo north. Phil’s role is to now oversee the organisation’s operational activities across the whole country, and one of the highlights of his role is traveling around the country meeting with operators and venue staff. Phil is married with two young boys, loves skateboarding and enjoys a nice cold beer.


Tom Smith – National Grants Manager

Email: tom.smith@lionfoundation.org.nz

Originally from Cirencester in the United Kingdom, Tom emigrated to New Zealand in 2018 with his young family. Living in London, Tom was involved with disability and Para Sport since 2007, working on the 2012 Paralympics and then with Special Olympics Great Britain, Sport England and The England & Wales Cricket Board.  Tom has extensive experience working in the philanthropic sector and was CEO of Parafed Auckland before starting in the role of Grants Manager at The Lion Foundation in November 2019. Tom considers himself to be a guru of the BBQ, and really enjoys cooking. He’ll even share his infamous Moroccan Lamb Shoulder recipe with you if you ask nicely!

We also have some great staff working in our Finance, Audit, Compliance and Grants’ teams. To contact any of these departments please call 0800 802 908 and we’ll put you in touch with the right person.