By Pattrick Smellie
Contact Energy has appointed Victoria Crone, managing director of accounting software firm Xero, as a director as the power company continues to refresh its board following the selldown by former majority shareholder Origin Energy in August.
Also joining the utility's board is the current chief financial officer of Air New Zealand, Rob McDonald, Contact said in a statement.
The appointments follow the choice of Ralph Norris, an outgoing Origin director who has previously been chief executive of Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Air New Zealand, to replace acting chair Phil Pryke, a founding Contact director who will leave the board in December.
"We are excited to be welcoming both Victoria and Rob to the Contact board," Pryke said. "They bring with them a great depth of experience in leading customer-inspired businesses that leverage the power of their organisations' culture alongside great products and leading edge technology."
Without a majority owner in Australia and with no need to invest in new electricity generation plant for several years, Contact is in the same position as other New Zealand gen-tailers in seeking ways to grow their customer numbers, loyalty and margins in an environment of flat demand growth, cost containment challenges, and downward pressure on tariffs.
Crone joined Xero as managing director in January last year from her previous role as head of sales and marketing at the regulated telecommunications network owner, Chorus.