David Newman, a director of Infratil for almost two decades and chairman for the past nine years, has died in Wellington, the investment company said.
Newman stepped down as chairman last week to take medical leave and Mark Tume was named acting chairman. Fellow director Paul Gough took over Newman's role as chairman of its audit and risk committee.
Newman "was a director of exceptional governance capability with the skills required to deal with difficult situations and strong-willed people," chief executive Marko Bogoievski said in a statement. "While a director of Infratil he was for a period also the CEO of the Institute of Directors and through the Institute, as well as his governance roles, will have left an indelible impression on New Zealand business."
Newman had also been chairman of Infratil's half-owned Wellington International Airport and Infratil's European Airports.
Prior to joining Infratil's board, Newman worked at BP including as managing director of BP New Zealand.
"His oil sector expertise was instrumental in Infratil and New Zealand Superannuation Fund's highly successful purchase of Shell's downstream NZ assets in 2010, which is now Z Energy," the company said.
Infratil shares last traded up 0.3 percent to $2.535 and have gained 11 percent this year.