Genesis Energy, New Zealand's largest electricity generator and retailer by customers, has lured former ASB Bank chief executive Barbara Chapman onto its board, replacing John Leuchars, who is leaving after a six-year stint as a director of the government-controlled, NZX-listed company.
The appointment effectively replaces a director with substantial engineering experience with a director with deep knowledge of retailing and digital disruption of traditional services, reflecting the shift among electricity generator-retailers in recent years from building new power stations, for which there is no current demand, to more competitive retailing - traditionally an area of weakness for the sector that has been changing fast since a slew of small-scale competitors entered the market in the last five years.
"Barbara brings valuable skills to the Genesis board around disruptive innovation, marketing, digital transformation, consumer technologies and driving leading brands," said Genesis chair Jenny Shipley.
"I believe Barbara's skills will both complement and enhance the board's capability during an exciting time for our company as we seek to put greater control in the hands of more than half a million New Zealanders who choose to be with Genesis," she said.
Chapman returned to ASB in 2011 after holding senior positions in Australia with its parent, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, and was seen to have revived a somewhat moribund brand and executed a shift to digital services before leaving the bank in February, saying she intended to seek company directorships. She has already joined the board of the New Zealand Initiative think-tank.
Her appointment will be effective from May 1 and will require confirmation from shareholders at the company's annual meeting in October.