Business Leaders of the year: Keith Turner

CEO Meridian Energy

Keith Turner gives state-owned enterprises a good name.

He this year returned to the government coffers $1.1 billion. This included an $800 million special dividend generated from the $1.5 billion sale of the generator's Australian investment Southern Hydro and a regular dividend $300 million.

The Southern Hydro deal is evidence enough of an ability to spot a lucrative investment opportunity. But Turner - who held senior positions in the former ECNZ before taking the helm of Meridian - has also distinguished himself by his willingness to contribute to the debate over the future of the New Zealand economy.

An outspoken champion for renewable generation, he declared Meridian would focus on wind and hydro generators - the "sustainable answer" to energy needs.

He is also an advocate for allowing state-owned companies to serve as breeding grounds for smaller businesses that can be sold on into private ownership.

Meridian has also invested in Whispertech, which makes a combined heat and power unit small enough to operate on a household scale.

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