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 undergraduate qualifications in electrical engineering, post graduate qualifications in engineering management, an 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.
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 majoring 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 it has to offer. He enjoys being in a role where he is able to make a positive contribution to the region while working in an industry he has a strong affiliation with.
Te Ahi O Maui Project Manager
Originally from the Waikato, Ben joined 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 Te Ahi O Maui 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.
Nelson Cull is currently Director and Chair of Eastland Group Ltd comprising Eastland Network Ltd, Eastland Port Ltd and Eastland Generation Ltd. He is also Chair and director of MSC Consulting Ltd, a structural and Civil Engineering consultancy firm and Board Adviser to Stonewood Homes West Auckland Ltd and Bike NZ, the National organisation responsible for the sport of cycling in New Zealand.
He has previously been Chair and Director of Lanzafuels Ltd and Techscape Ltd. Other directorships include, Guardian Healthcare Ltd, Kerifresh Ltd and Netball NZ. He has fulfiiled board advisory roles for Sports NZ in NZ Football and Swimming NZ.
He worked in the Oil Industry in New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom. During his time with Fletcher Energy he set up and launched a new retail company, Challenge Petroleum.
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 NZ Grape Growers Council and Deputy Chair of NZ Winegrowers.
Auckland-based Anne Blackburn joined the board in September 2011.
She is a banker by profession following careers in journalism and diplomacy, and has 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.
On her return she also began to develop a portfolio of directorships across the finance, infrastructure, health, property and research sectors . Anne now has a wide range of sector and professional governance experience at both main board and committee level, in particular with audit and human resource oversight.
John is a member of the Institute of Directors and a Director or Chairman of a number of NZ companies involved in the infrastructure, energy, waste and fund management sectors.
He was involved in banking in NZ and London in various treasury & capital market roles for 10 years before returning to NZ in 1991 and undertaking a number of private equity, venture capital and corporate finance transactions in NZ and Australia.
For 9 years until early 2010 John was Managing Director of Stevenson Group, one of NZ’s largest private companies with more than 600 employees. He was responsible for a major transformation of this almost 100 year old company into a successful, diversified investment group with significant interests in construction materials, quarrying, mining, agriculture, engineering and property.
In addition to chairing the New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development, John is a member of the National Infrastructure Advisory Board which provides independent advice to Treasury and the Minister for Infrastructure.
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.
Mr Tony Gray is a Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants.
Tony has extensive financial experience having being a Chief Financial Officer of a number of large organizations for around 20 years. He is currently Chief Financial Officer Hastings District Council and has been a Group Manager Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu (Secretariat and Group Monitoring), Group Finance Manager/CFO of Mighty River Power Limited a role he held for 7 years and prior to that CFO/Director of Investments of Television New Zealand Limited for 12 years. At the time he was CFO of Mighty River Power the Company was awarded the Excellence in Treasury Management Award by INFINZ reflecting an innovative bond issue and debt strategies implemented by the Company. He has been involved in the setting up of joint ventures in New Zealand, Australia and Singapore.
He has been on the Board of various companies including SKY Network Television Limited, CLEAR Communications Limited, Asia Business News (Pty) Limited, Rotokawa Generation Limited and Southdown Cogeneration Limited. He has also been a Councillor and Executive Board member of the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants and was a member of Institutes Sustainable Development Reporting Committee. Tony is currently an Independent Director of Ngati Apa Developments Limited.