A conflict of interest has prompted Sam Robinson to resign from his post as Centralines board chairman, after nearly 10 years on the board.

Mr Robinson has been on a short-term leave of absence from the board due to a conflict of interest while contractual negotiations between Centralines and Hawke's Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) over the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme (RWSS) were in progress.

Mr Robinson is a director of HBRIC, and given the likely long-term nature of the relationship between Centralines and the RWSS he has chosen to formally resign.

He was appointed to the board in 2006 and elected chairman in 2013.

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Centralines is owned by the Central Hawke's Bay Consumers' Trust and trust chairman Alistair Setter said with Mr Robinson's involvement with HBRIC, the decision to step down was prudent.

"Given Centralines recently commenced contractual negotiations to provide the distribution services to the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme, Mr Robinson has acted to ensure no conflict of interest exists.

"In his nearly 10 years of service, Mr Robinson brought a wealth of knowledge and experience to the board, and his contribution will be greatly missed. We wish him all the best for his future ventures."

Jon Nichols, a Centralines board member since July 2011, has been acting chairman during Mr Robinson's absence and has now been confirmed in that role.

A business consultant and chartered accountant, Mr Nichols has been involved in a number of strategic growth, regulatory and performance-based initiatives for infrastructure businesses, Mr Setter said.

He serves on the boards of Port of Napier and Palmerston North Airport Limited, and is an independent member of the Hastings District Council audit and risk committee.