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Ken Sutherland

Board chair

Unison chief executive Ken Sutherland is our board chair – a position he has held for eleven years. Based in Hastings, Ken has extensive experience and leadership within New Zealand’s utility, infrastructure and electricity sectors. He is a member of the Electricity Sector’s Chief Executive Group; Business New Zealand’s Major Companies Group CEO Forum; the Energy Networks Association CEO Forum in Australia; the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants and the New Zealand Institute of Directors.

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Nigel Barbour

Deputy chair

Nigel leads the Orion Group which comprises Orion’s central Canterbury electricity distribution business and its wholly owned subsidiary, Connetics. Prior to joining Orion Group, Nigel was Chief Executive of Powerco, New Zealand’s second largest electricity distribution business, based in New Plymouth. 

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Andrew Tombs

Board member

Andrew has been chief executive of Alpine Energy since 2009. Previously he has worked for Downer, Unison Networks and Transpower. He has been vice president of the South Canterbury Chamber of Commerce for six years.

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Neil Simmonds

Board member

Neil has been chief executive of Electra, which operates the electricity distribution network in the Kapiti-Horowhenua region, since 2014. Previously he was chief executive of Counties Power for 13 years. Previously he had worked with WEL Energy and ECNZ. Neil is a qualified engineer and a fellow of IPENZ.

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Jason Franklin

Board member

Jason is chief executive of PowerNet, the distribution network delivering power to Invercargill City, Southland, West Otago, parts of Central Otago and Stewart Island. Previously he has worked for Rio Tinto (both internationally and at the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter) and ECNZ. He has been on the executive committee of the Major Electricity Users Group and the Wholesale Advisory Group for the Electricity Authority.

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Richard Fletcher

Board member

Richard is chief executive of Aurora Energy, the lines company covering Dunedin and Otago. Before joining Aurora Energy, Richard was General Manager Regulation and Corporate Affairs at Powerco and before that a senior manager at national grid operator, Transpower NZ. From 2000 to 2005, Richard was Head of Economic Regulation at Welsh Water PLC.

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Russell Shaw

Board member

Russell is the chief executive of Top Energy based in Kerikeri in the Far North. As an electrical engineer with over 25 years’ experience in the utility sector, Russell has significant experience in strategy, management, risk and operations with extensive knowledge of asset management, performance improvement and engineering.