Aurora Energy begins implementing recommendations of independent review

15 Feb 2017

Aurora Energy has begun the implementation of the organisational changes recommended by the independent review by its shareholder, Dunedin City Holdings Limited.

The first step is to transition to two standalone companies from the middle of the year.

Delta Utility Services and Aurora Energy Chair, Steve Thompson, says there have always been two organisations – Aurora Energy that owns the electricity network, and Delta that provides contracting services to Aurora Energy and other energy and environmental customers and employs the people who maintain the network.

“We about to begin the process of recruiting a new chief executive for Delta and aim to have that person in place by the middle of the year. As the Delta leadership team takes shape, we will provide further updates. We expect to appoint a permanent Aurora Energy chief executive in the latter part of the year."

“The current chief executive, Grady Cameron, has advised me that he will not take up either of the new roles. He will remain in his existing role until 30 June 2017, after which he will be interim Aurora Energy chief executive until the end of the year."

“The Board and I are particularly grateful that Grady has agreed to oversee the transition process along with the accelerated pole programme which is now underway,” says Mr Thompson.

A report by consulting firm Deloitte last year prepared for Dunedin City Holdings, made a number of recommendations, including separate board and management structures for Aurora Energy and Delta.

“Grady and his team have already started work on this process, and a number of senior management appointments have been made or are currently being finalised,” says Mr Thompson. The recent appointments establish the new management team and structure for Aurora Energy (see below for executive biographies).

Mr Cameron says the new structure will significantly change the leadership of the two businesses. “My focus now is on assisting the Board and the two organisations with the transition and delivering the pole programme before taking on another role.”

 

Aurora Energy executive leadership team appointments

Warren Batchelor, General Manager Network Performance
(external appointment, starting 20 February)

Responsible for asset management strategy, planning and implementation; manages asset management, network engineering and design and programme delivery teams. Warren brings wide experience in the electricity distribution and manufacturing sectors with a strong focus on asset management, engineering and network operations. He was most recently managing the networks transformation programme for Vector, based in Auckland. Prior to that he has held senior management roles and carried out major change programmes with Aurora Energy (the state electricity provider in Tasmania) and Unison Networks, among others. He holds a Masters in Electrical Engineering from the University of Canterbury.

Mark Corbitt, Chief Technology Officer
(external appointment, starting 20 February)

Responsible for information technology strategy and operations, network technology development for Aurora Energy, including the future implementation of its new asset management system. Mark brings deep experience in information and communications technology leadership to the organisation. He was most recently Chief Information Officer for Contact Energy based in Wellington. Prior to that he has held senior information and communications technology roles and undertaken significant projects with the Ministry of Justice, Housing New Zealand and Telecom NZ, among others.

John Campbell, General Manager Operations and Risk
(internal appointment)

Responsible for network operations and customer services, operation of network control centres, strategic risk management and network safety. John has been Operations Manager for the Aurora Energy network since 2015. Prior to that, John had more than 30 years’ experience in the electricity industry including engineering, operations and project management roles at national grid operator Transpower and network engineering and operations for Central Power (Manawatu).

Alec Findlater, General Manager Network Commercial
(internal appointment)

Responsible for network pricing, connection management, commercial development, customer solutions, regulatory affairs and resource management. Alec was most recently Commercial Manager for the Aurora Energy network. He has in excess of 30 years’ experience in electricity transmission and distribution, with senior roles encompassing design and engineering, contracting and commercial management.