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Leadership

 Contact is led by an experienced and diverse board and leadership team who are committed to our customers, communities, shareholders and people.

Meet our Board of Directors

Sir Ralph Norris KNZM

Chairman and Independent Non-Executive Director

Term of office: Appointed director 12 November 2015, last elected 2015 annual meeting.
Board committees: Chairman of the Remuneration and Nominations Committee

Sir Ralph Norris has over 40 years of business and banking experience, having led large organisations through transformational change in both New Zealand and Australia. He is the chairman of Fletcher Building Limited and RANQX Holdings Limited, along with holding directorships on the Advisory Boards of New Zealand Treasury, Tax Management NZ and SouthPark Corporation. He is a former director of Fonterra Limited and Origin Energy Limited. He was managing director and chief executive of Commonwealth Bank of Australia for six years until 2011, and prior to that served as chief executive of Air New Zealand and ASB Bank. Sir Ralph was made a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2009 and a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to business in 2006. In 2012 he had conferred on him an Honorary Doctorate of Business by the University of New South Wales.

Victoria Crone

Independent Non-Executive Director

Term of office: Appointed director 12 November 2015, last elected 2015 annual meeting.
Board committees: Member of the Health, Safety and Environment Committee and member of the Remuneration and Nominations Committee

Victoria has over 20 years’ experience in the communications and IT sectors. Her experience spans from start-ups to mature products across consumer, small business and enterprise sectors. She is chief executive of Callaghan Innovation and chair of Figure.NZ. A former managing director of Xero New Zealand, Victoria also held senior management roles in sales and marketing at Chorus and Telecom. She is a passionate kiwi and a member of NZ Global Women. Victoria holds a Master’s degree in Commerce and Administration (Marketing and Management) from Victoria University.

Whaimutu Dewes

Independent Non-Executive Director

Term of office: Appointed director 22 February 2010, last re-elected 2016 annual meeting.
Board committees: Chairman of the Health, Safety and Environment Committee and member of the Audit Committee

Whaimutu Dewes is of Ngati Porou and Ngati Rangitihi descent and lives in Gisborne. He is the chairman of Aotearoa Fisheries Limited and Sealord Group Limited, and is a director on the Treasury Board. His former directorships include the Housing New Zealand Board, Television New Zealand Limited and the AMP New Zealand Advisory Board, and he was deputy chairman of Sealord Group between 1992 and 2008. Whaimutu has also held senior management roles at Fletcher Challenge and the Department of Maori Affairs. Whaimutu has a Master’s degree in public administration and degrees in arts and law.

Rob McDonald

Independent Non-Executive Director

Term of office: Appointed director 12 November 2015, last elected 2015 annual meeting.
Board committees: Member of the Audit Committee

Rob’s finance career spans over 30 years, having worked overseas before joining Coopers and Lybrand in the corporate advisory and valuations practice in 1985. He is currently the chief financial officer with Air New Zealand, a position held since 2004, prior to which he was the group treasurer. He is a former board member of the Institute of Finance Professionals New Zealand Inc. and the former vice chairman of the IATA Financial Committee. Rob has a Bachelor of Commerce from Auckland University and in 1999 completed the Program of Management Development at Harvard Business School. He is a Fellow of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand.

Sue Sheldon CNZM

Independent Non-Executive Director

Term of office: Appointed director 16 March 2009, last re-elected 2016 annual meeting.
Board committees: Chairman of the Audit Committee and member of the Remuneration and Nominations Committee

Sue Sheldon is a professional company director. She is the chairman of Freightways Limited and a director of Real Journeys Limited. Sue has previously held the roles of chairman of Chorus Limited, Paymark Limited, NZ Global Women and the Board of Trustees of the National Provident Fund, deputy chairman of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand and Christchurch International Airport Limited, and director of Smiths City Group Limited. Prior to moving into a professional director role, Sue practised as a chartered accountant. She is a former president of the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants and was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2007 for services to business.

Elena Trout

Independent Non-Executive Director

Term of office: Appointed director 3 October 2016, last elected 2016 annual meeting.

Board committees: Member of the Health, Safety and Environment Committee

Elena is an experienced company director and a professional engineer who has held a number of leadership positions in the transport, infrastructure and energy sectors. She has over 30 years of experience in the management, planning and delivery of large projects. She is a director of Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority, Harrison Grierson Holdings Limited and Marsden Maritime Holdings Limited. Her former directorships include Electricity Authority and Transpower New Zealand Limited. She is the immediate Past-President of the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand (IPENZ) with membership status of Fellow as well as Fellow of Engineers Australia, and is a chartered member of the Institute of Directors. Elena holds a Master's of Civil Engineering degree from Canterbury University.

Meet our Leadership Team

Dennis Barnes

Chief Executive Officer

Dennis Barnes was appointed Chief Executive Officer in April 2011. Prior to joining Contact, he was General Manager Energy Risk Management at Origin, based in Sydney. Dennis started with Origin in 1998 and over that time has led sales, systems development, gas trading and generation operations departments. Dennis has guided Origin's significant and expanding operations in wholesale markets. Before that, Dennis worked in a number of positions operating in international energy markets, including managerial roles at Scottish and English electricity companies.

Graham Cockroft

Chief Financial Officer 

Graham Cockroft was appointed as Contact Energy's Chief Financial Officer in June 2012.  Prior to this he spent three years as Contact's Chief Operating Officer in which he was responsible for the operation of Contact's wholesale and generation functions, including generation development. Before joining Contact, Graham worked for nearly two decades for BG Group in senior strategy, business development and operational roles.

Venasio-Lorenzo (Vena) Crawley

Chief Customer Officer

Vena joined Contact in October 2014 in a newly created role  of Chief Customer Officer. Vena oversees all of Contact's functions that have been aligned to build the delivery of a best in class customer experience through our Retail, Commercial and Industrial channels, these include;  marketing, sales, product and services management, retail operations and metering, customer insight, pricing, networks and reconciliation, LPG cylinder delivery, performance management and business intelligence and customer change.

James Kilty

Chief Generation & Development Officer

Appointed to the newly created role of Chief Generation & Development Officer in October 2014, James is tasked with managing our commercial end-to-end activities of development, fuel, generation and trading. In 2013 James was appointed General Manager, Sales and Customer Experience,  in addition to his role of General Manager, Trading Development and Geothermal Resources. James was previously Contact's General Manager, Generation Development.

Tania Palmer

General Manager, People and Safety

Tania was appointed General Manager of People and Safety in 2017. She was previously Contact's General Manager of Health, Safety and Environment and has held other senior positions at Contact. Prior to joining Contact she was director of a successful HR Consultancy, where she led projects for clients within the energy, science and research, manufacturing, retail, arts, financial services, non-profit and government sectors. Tania has also held senior human resources and training management roles in banking, the food manufacturing and export sector, and the military.

Catherine Thompson

General Manager, External Relations and General Counsel

Catherine leads Contact’s media, corporate reputation, regulatory and government relations, legal and company secretarial functions. Catherine joined Contact in 2010 and in addition to her legal practice has been responsible for the regulatory and government relations function at Contact for a number of years. Prior to joining Contact Catherine spent 10 years in London practising energy law both in private practice and in an in-house corporate environment.