Our people

After 100 years selling real estate, Barfoot & Thompson is still a proudly family-owned and managed business. Our current Directors – Peter Thompson and Stephen Barfoot – are the grandsons of the original owners. In addition to the Directors, there is an experienced cohesive senior leadership team who contribute daily to the company’s ongoing successes.

Peter Thompson, Managing Director

Barfoot & Thompson is much more than a business to Peter; it's quite literally part of his family. He started out in 1981 in the rental division at the Otahuhu branch and continued to move through a number of positions in the firm including sales, administration and management. He was made a Director in 1997, and ultimately became Managing Director in 2005.

Peter is the grandson of Maurice Thompson — the original Thompson in the Barfoot & Thompson team which started out in the early 1920s. 95 years on, those family links are still important to the company; his daughter Paula joined Peter in the firm as the first of the fourth generation, followed by her cousin Matthew.

Peter takes care to balance all aspects of his life — time with his wife Fiona and daughters Paula and Lisa, his commitment to the family firm, and his passion for sport. An intensely loyal person, he leads a very supportive culture within Barfoot & Thompson while continuing to achieve impressive growth.

Giving back to the community is a major focus for Peter, who has a special interest in Starship Foundation, believing that New Zealand’s children are its next leaders and that it’s important to improve health standards across the country. He is also seen as a leading spokesperson for the real estate industry, with a passion to improve the image of real estate agents.

Peter has held several directorships over the years, including being on the Board of Auckland Rugby, and still is a current Board Member of realestate.co.nz, an industry web portal company. He was awarded Life Membership of the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand in 2011, and was made a Life Member of Auckland Rugby in December 2017.


Stephen Barfoot, Director

A born and raised Aucklander, Stephen Barfoot is the grandson of the Barfoot & Thompson founder, Val Barfoot. Stephen’s father, Chris Barfoot, was a Director and Branch Manager and worked in the company for 40 years.

Prior to joining the family business, Stephen had a career in technology, and was New Zealand IT Manager for a US-based multinational corporation. Stephen started at Barfoot & Thompson in 2002 as a salesperson. After his experience in sales, he moved into the Barfoot & Thompson IT team, where he was most recently the Chief Technology Officer. In his role as CTO, Stephen oversaw the creation of the Barfoot & Thompson mobile app which has become an invaluable digital asset to the company’s 1,800 salespeople.

At the beginning of 2017, Stephen returned to the front line of the business and has spent 18 months as the Branch Manager of the Beach Haven office, followed by 12 months as a Relieving Branch Manager. In October 2019, Stephen was named a Director of the company. As part of his leadership role, he will work to ensure that the best and most cutting-edge innovations related to real estate are considered for integration into the company.

In his spare time, Stephen is a member of the volunteer rescue vessel crew for Auckland Coastguard. When not at work or at Coastguard, he’s a keen sailor. Earlier this year, Stephen and his wife Terri completed a sailing circumnavigation of the North Island.


Chris Dobbie, Chief Executive Officer

Chris Dobbie has worked for Barfoot & Thompson since 1994. Initially starting as an assistant accountant, Chris then held the position of Chief Financial Officer for 17 years.
As the company has evolved into what it is today, Chris and the company have experienced massive changes in size, technology and market share.

For Chris, it was a natural progression to move into the Chief Executive Officer role, and to work closely with the Directors on Barfoot & Thompson's continued quest for providing an outstanding service to our clients and customers.

Communication with the internal managers, branch managers and external suppliers has provided a solid platform for Chris' sound decision making skills. His background and knowledge of the branch operating procedures and depth of experience in the industry is a perfect fit for this role, and he is committed to following the Barfoot & Thompson family values.


Priya Shankar, Chief Financial Officer

Priya has been part of the Barfoot and Thompson family for 16 years. Her journey began in 2006 when she was offered the position of Accountant at our Support Centre. Upon completion of her Accountancy degree in 2013, she was promoted to the position of Company Accountant, and in 2018, she was offered the opportunity to step up as the company’s Financial Controller. As Priya began her CPA qualification in 2021, she was promoted to the position of Chief Financial Officer (CFO).

Priya has also previously held finance and accounting roles at companies such as Carter Holt Harvey, ASB Bank, Whitecliffe College of Arts, Household Linens and Unitec Institute of Technology. 

Extremely results orientated, Priya runs a small, but effective finance team which services the company’s financial reporting requirements, compliance, tax governance and payroll functions. Her role includes working with the CEO and the senior executive team, to assist with the company’s strategic initiatives, and she strives to build strong internal and external relationships.


Rod Robinson, General Manager Branches

Rod started with Barfoot & Thompson in 1994 as the startup manager for our southernmost office in Pukekohe which grew under his leadership to become our number one office. He is described as knowing real estate front to back, having a thoughtful managerial style and a good sense of humour.

Rural/lifestyle real estate is a specialist field which Rod has a passion for having started in the real estate industry in 1979 as a farm sales person. After finishing as manager in Pukekohe in 2015 he became our Rural/Lifestyle Business Development Manager. Rod now oversees half of Barfoot & Thompson's branches as Regional Manager working collaboratively with his counterpart Clinton Hardy with the goal of making the Company the undisputed firm of choice.

When he is not working or on his farm with wife Kelly, he loves to travel with her to places that blend their love of food and wine with the opportunity to see other parts of the world. A fan of sport, he is a proud board member of the Counties Manukau Rugby Football Union.


Grant Sykes, General Manager Branches

I have been with Barfoot & Thompson for 25+ years now. I started my journey as a salesperson in Papatoetoe back in 1996, and today, I'm thrilled to be the General Manager of Branches. One thing’s for sure, time flies when you’re doing what you love - and there have certainly been some milestones along the way.

In 2001, following five years in sales, I opened the Beachlands branch and successfully amalgamated the Whitford and Maraetai offices to form the Pohutukawa Coast team. This three-office setup was profitable from year one, and a landmark achievement for me.

In 2004, I opened the Dannemora office, which grew to become one of the top 10 branches in the company within ten years. It was a challenging but rewarding experience, and I am immensely proud of the work we did to make it a success.

More recently, in 2019, I left the Dannemora branch to help turn around the Meadowbank branch. With some serious strategic leadership and a lot of hard work, my team and I were able to increase turnover there by over 250% in just two years.

Now, in my current position as General Manager of Branches, I get to use my experience and knowledge to help other branches succeed.

I am a quick thinker, willing to get stuck in and do the work, and a graduate of the ISL strategic leadership course. I am also a lifelong learner and student of real estate - taking great pride in being able to help the people around me grow into the best version of themselves.

Something else I’m proud of, is the fact I am the third generation of my family to work for Barfoot & Thompson! My grandfather was a salesperson and branch manager with the firm, my father was the Company Secretary, and my mother was the Rental Computer Manager. You could say that real estate runs in the blood.

On a personal note, I'm happily married to my wife Tanya and the proud father of five children, which keeps me fairly busy after hours. When I do find myself with free time (rare), you'll probably find me ocean swimming, fishing, or travelling.


Vaughan Borcovsky, Operations Manager

Vaughan has been working in real estate since 2003. Over the years he has filled a number of management and operational roles spanning all areas of real estate Vaughan’s diverse experience has given him a comprehensive knowledge of all aspects of real estate. Before joining Barfoot & Thompson in 2013, Vaughan was General Manager of the NZ Realtors Network, and prior to that was the General Manager of Summit Real Estate in Nelson.

As a regional manager at Barfoot & Thompson, Vaughan worked with over 35 Branch Managers assisting them to improve, grow and help their teams thrive. This covered many aspects of development including sales, property management, recruitment and retention of team members, customer service, market share growth, marketing, community involvement and the well-being of their teams.

Vaughan is now in the role of Operations Manager, a newly created position for Barfoot & Thompson. Vaughan will play a critical role in continuing the company’s strategic vision by enhancing operational procedures, improving information distribution, strengthening data analysis and working to help promote the company culture that encourages high performance and relationships amongst the Barfoot & Thompson team.


Simon Casey, Chief Information Officer

Simon joined Barfoot & Thompson as Chief Information Officer (CIO) in 2008 and manages a team of 40 IT specialists. They are highly productive while working in self-managed teams within a flat structure, using agile development methods.

The company has continued to embrace new technology with the deployment of mobile applications, online auctions, advanced security systems and data analytics.

Simon’s previous role was CIO at Zintel, a publicly listed Telecommunications business with operations in Auckland, Wellington and Sydney. Before that, Simon was the Information Services (IS) Manager at Yellow Pages where he was a member of the executive team.

Outside of work, Simon enjoys spending time with family and friends, sporting activities, property investment and volunteer work at his church.


Samantha Arnold, General Manager Property Management

Samantha is our General Manager for the Property Management division. She works with a team of nearly 300 people who in turn, look after more than 19,000 investment properties across Auckland, Northland and Tauranga.

Sam has been with Barfoot & Thompson for seven years, bringing 25 years of overseas experience with her. She specialises in business strategy, takes the lead on mergers and acquisitions for the division, and property management business growth, both financially people-wise.

Customer service experience is a main focus point for Sam. She is always looking for ways to improve the interaction with our landlords and tenants, and has built a business support centre for staff to ensure the delivery of customer service is widespread.

She is a member of the leadership team who drive change and new initiatives, and is a long-term REINZ steering committee member.


Shawn Minnie, Health & Safety Manager

Shawn joined Barfoot & Thompson in January 2020, just prior to Covid coming to our shores.

Shawn has worked in Health and Safety for over 18 years in high risk industries such as petrochemical, mining and construction. He also specialised in asbestos identification and management, and is a qualified asbestos surveyor.


Lisa Gerrard, Senior Legal Counsel

Lisa Gerrard is our In-House Senior Legal Counsel. She has a wealth of experience in litigation, dispute resolution, risk management, contracts, negotiation, property law and more. Lisa arrived at Barfoot & Thompson after more than six years with The Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) where she served as their General Counsel and General Manager.

Lisa, and her wife Lizzie, live in Rotorua and are the proud owners of their adorable dog, Awhi. We are incredibly fortunate to have such a seasoned barrister within the Barfoot & Thompson family.



Trevor Isted, Human Resources Manager

Trevor has been with Barfoot & Thompson since October 2008 as the Head of Human Resources (HR). He has worked in the HR field since 2004, and held roles in the finance and telecommunications industries prior to joining Barfoot & Thompson.

With experience as a generalist HR practitioner, Trevor is able to assist the company, managers and employees, in a wide range of employment matters. 

Prior to working in HR, he held roles in the tourism industry, and sales and marketing, which provided him with a foundation of good customer service skills and experience in managing teams.

Trevor enjoys the coaching aspect of his role and helping people resolve problems with good solutions. He was drawn to the family owned and operated structure of Barfoot & Thompson, and was not disappointed by the family values instilled across the organisation.


Neal Morshead, Head of Design and Production

Neal joined Barfoot & Thompson in 2019, bringing with him 30 years of local and international design, advertising and marketing experience. He was initially charged with managing the rebrand project, then went on to play a key role in developing the company’s internal template design system before becoming Head of Design and Production within the Marketing team.

Neal’s tremendous industry knowledge, combined with his energetic approach, have him perfectly placed to back the brand, drive team performance and boost our marketing support services out to our branches and salespeople.

Refining processes, keeping the lines of communication open and enhancing the overall design and production capability, are priorities for Neal in this role.