Our leadership team

Nigel Barbour 


Nigel was appointed Orion Group Chief Executive in July 2021. He leads the Orion Group which comprises Orion’s central Canterbury electricity distribution business and our wholly owned subsidiary, Connetics. Prior to joining Orion Group, Nigel was Chief Executive of Powerco, New Zealand’s second largest electricity distribution business, based in New Plymouth. He was with Powerco for 19 years in a range of executive management positions including nine as Chief Executive. Nigel has an economics and legal background and previously held roles with Transpower and the Bank of New Zealand. 


David Freeman-Greene 


David leads Orion’s future network business, ensuring we meet the needs of our customers today and into the future. He leads teams responsible for Asset Management, Information Solutions, Asset Information, Regulatory, Commercial, Customer and Communications. David was previously Orion GM Commercial and GM Account and Business Development at Telecom Wholesale. He has a broad legal, commercial and regulatory background with extensive experience in the electricity and telecommunications sectors and, prior to that, was in private practice as a lawyer.


Sam Elder 


Sam leads Orion Group’s Energy Futures team, collaborating to develop new, innovative energy solutions for a cleaner, brighter future for our community. Sam started out as a spacecraft thermal systems engineer in the UK, before moving to NZ in 2006. Since then she has held a range of leadership roles including Retail Insight Manager at Meridian Energy, South Island Director at the Ākina Foundation, and Senior Strategy Manager at Environment Canterbury. Sam has an MSc in Advanced Energy & Environmental Studies, including a thesis exploring smart heating solutions to energy hardship in Aotearoa NZ.


Vaughan Hartland 


Vaughan leads the Value Optimisation and Finance teams. He is a chartered accountant with Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand. Vaughan joined Orion in 2017 and was Chief Financial Officer until September 2020.

Steve Macdonald


Steve leads Orion's Electricity Network team, which is responsible for the safe construction, maintenance, engineering and operation of Orion's electricity distribution network. He has more than 25 years’ experience in different roles within Orion, and in the Orion Group company, Connetics. 


Duane Makin


Duane leads Orion’s Digital, Data and Technology teams responsible for leading the digital transformation of the Orion Group. Appointed in March 2022, Duane is a technology leader with more than 20 years of experience in both local and global roles across a number of sectors including energy and utilities. Duane joins Orion Group from the health sector where he was the Chief Technology Officer of ProCare He has previously held leadership roles in Atlantis Healthcare and Auckland electricity and gas distributer, Vector.


John Thompson


John was appointed Chief Executive of Orion's wholly owned subsidiary, Connetics, in June 2021. He has been with Connetics for more than 29 years in a variety of roles. John is a chartered accountant with Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand.


Alice van den Hout


Alice leads Orion Group’s Purpose and Performance team which drives the Orion Group to achieve our Group strategy. She leads teams responsible for Orion People & Capability, and Group-wide Sustainability, Reporting and Risk, and High Performance Systems. Alice joined the Orion Group in December 2021 from the dairy industry, with a strong background managing teams and creating environments for teams to thrive. She has worked across a broad range of roles in New Zealand and overseas, building a strong record of achievement in health and safety, quality, sustainability, productivity, yield, cost control efficiency and workplace culture.


Karen Wiese


Karen is our Company Secretary and leads our internal and external governance reporting as well as managing our insurance programme. Karen has more than 25 years’ of diverse experience in the electricity industry, primarily in finance, risk and governance. Karen’s role supports Orion Group’s continued success through our purpose and strategic goals.

Nic Wong


Nic was appointed in August 2021 to lead the team exploring new opportunities and ventures for the Orion Group. He is a tertiary qualified electrical engineer with almost 30 years’ experience in the both the New Zealand and Australian electricity sector. He has a broad background in technical sales and marketing, project and commercial management, manufacturing and operations. Nic was previously Head of Growth & Commercialisation and Design & Engineering with Connetics.