A brief introduction to our Eastland Group Executive Team and Board of Directors
Group Chief Executive
Matt was appointed CEO of Eastland Group in 2003. His background includes four years with UnitedNetworks, including two years as general manager of group operations.
He has more than 20 years experience in the utilities and infrastructure sectors, including senior roles with major players. Matt has worked in New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom, Southeast Asia, South America and the Pacific Islands.
He has under graduate qualifications in electrical engineering, post graduate qualifications in engineering management, a MBA from the University of Otago and is a graduate of the Harvard Business School Advanced Management Program.
Sector General Manager - Energy
Brent Stewart leads our team responsible for the overall management and operation of the electricity distribution network assets of Eastland Network. He has worked in the electricity distribution industry for almost 30 years. Brent joined Eastland Network 2002 after management positions within the industry in Wellington and the Bay of Plenty.
General Manager - Business Development
Gavin Murphy joined Eastland Group in 2004 after many years heading projects and teams in New Zealand and offshore. A qualified engineer, he spent nearly two years as commercial manager for London Underground's multi-million pound re-development of Kings Cross. Prior to taking on the project he oversaw a number of contracts and large projects that included risk budget management, negotiating, reviewing of contracts, conflict solving and ensuring effective commercial strategies. Gavin Murphy has extensive experience in the utility sector, particularly the electricity industry, which saw him spend time in Indonesia heading a key project for a company.
Sector General Manager - Logistics
Born on the East Coast Andrew has been involved in the local forestry industry from an early age, from driving trucks in Mangatu forest to planting around Ruatoria. Andrew graduated with a degree in environmental planning with a major in forestry, which he put to good use at District Council level before moving on to work for Fulton Hogan. He then headed to London for a number of years where he managed projects for National Railways and the London Underground.
Once back in New Zealand he completed his masters in engineering management at Canterbury University before returning to Gisborne and work with Eastland Group . After 3 years as group project development manager he moved into the role of General Manager – Logistics which encompasses the management of Eastland Port and a separate cold and dry store facility. Andrew is passionate about the East Coast and all that it has to offer, he enjoys being in a role where he is able to make a positive contribution to the region while working with an industry he has a strong affiliation with.
Te Ahi O Maui Project Manager
Originally from the Waikato, Ben joined the Eastland Group in 2004 following a three year role with London Underground on the Public Private Partnership project to modernise the system through the privatisation of the maintenance and upgrade of the network. While in the UK, Ben obtained a Diploma in Financial Management which complemented his training as Mechanical Engineer. He has also worked in the construction sector as a process engineer for Firth Stresscrete.
Before taking on the role of Project Manager, Ben was General Manager – Commercial for the Group and had direct accountability for Gisborne Airport and Eastland’s commercial property holdings as well being heavily involved in the analysis, development and delivery of a number projects across the entire business.
General Manager Business Support Services
As General Manager of Business Support Services, Christopher has accountability for the Group’s Human Capital, Information Technology and Communications, Organisational Preparedness (including Health and safety), Public Relations, Procurement and Strategy Development.
For the past 15 years he ran a management consultancy that helped organisations shape and understand strategy, implement change and improve performance. Prior to that he worked firstly in central and local government in operational roles and then moved to the utility sector looking after both telecommunications and gas business units for a publicly listed company. Christopher has been involved in numerous start-ups and also held directorships in the transport and financial sectors. He was attracted to the role by the opportunities for growth that are available for the Group, the vision for the future and the highly motivated leadership team seeking to capture that vision.
Auckland businessman Nelson Cull brings a strong commercial focus to the board. He has served as chair and director of structural and civil engineering consultant firm MSC Consulting Group Ltd and Lanzafuels Ltd, completed a term as the SPARC appointed independent commissioner for NZ Football Inc and previously served on the board of Netball NZ during a period of enormous transition. His other previous roles also include directorships of Guardian HealthCare, KeriFresh Ltd and an engineering services company called Techscape Ltd that was owned by Waitakere and North Shore City councils. He worked in the oil industry in New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Australia, before moving to Fletcher Challenge where he set up the new retail company Challenge Petroleum. A short move to Contact Energy was followed by a stint at the helm of New Zealand Works Infrastructure.
Mike has extensive experience in the commercial arena, having worked in large New Zealand companies and as an investment banker and adviser to some of the biggest companies in South-East Asia and Australasia.
He developed one of the largest berryfruit growing operations in New Zealand and currently manages his own company, Fruit Solutions, which specialises in the distribution of frozen fruits and vegetables.
Mike has a law degree and over the years has been a director of a number of private companies in New Zealand and Australia, including 10 years as a director of electricity distributor Network Tasman Limited. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Directors.
John Clarke was Mayor of Gisborne for 12 years and, prior to his present appointment as a director of Eastland Group Limited, Eastland Network Limited and Eastland Port Limited, was chairman of Port Gisborne Limited. He is a former co-chair of the Tairawhiti Task force and a member of the National Wood Processing Strategy Group. John is a viticulturalist, and is currently president of the Gisborne Wine Growers Association.
Auckland-based Anne Blackburn is the other new director to join the board. Anne, who is a banker by profession following careers in journalism and diplomacy, has also worked extensively offshore.
She spent 12 years in investment banks in New York and London, before returning to a senior management role with a New Zealand bank in the late 1990s.
Her work and involvement in the finance, infrastructure, health, property and research sectors as a director on a number of boards highlights her passion for good stewardship of economic assets.
Roger Taylor is a former partner of Ernst & Young and is currently an independent financial consultant. He has 30 years experience of financial consulting and auditing, and he specialises in financial, economic and general management advice. Roger has consulted to a wide range of government and corporate clients both in New Zealand and overseas, including the Crown (in relation to the corporatisation and valuation of airports and ports), Wellington International Airport Limited, Westgate Port Taranaki, Telecom New Zealand Limited, and Board of Airline Representatives New Zealand in relation to asset valuation and pricing issues.
John has a background in banking and finance throughout New Zealand and further afield. He worked for a decade in London in various treasury and capital market roles before returning to New Zealand in 1991. He kept busy with a number of private equity, venture capital and corporate finance transactions on both sides of the Tasman before becoming involved with the long established family company Stevenson Group, where he was Managing Director for 9 years until mid 2010. The company was entrenched throughout the nation in building products, quarrying, contract mining, farming, engineering and property sectors, and has a staff of over 600. John is a member of the Institute of Directors and has been a director for various companies in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. He is on the Government’s National Infrastructure Advisory Board and is chairman of the New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development.
Chief Financial Officer
As Chief Financial Officer Aaron is responsible for the finance, treasury, accounting, tax, legal, company secretary and financial administration functions of the Eastland Group. Aaron supports the Group Chief Executive, the Board of Directors, the businesses within the group and the company's growth initiatives.