Orion Group Chief Executive appointed

11 March 2021

The Orion Board today announced the appointment of Nigel Barbour as the company’s new Group Chief Executive.

Nigel is currently Chief Executive of Powerco and will move to Christchurch and take up the role on 1 July 2021. 

As Group Chief Executive, Nigel will lead the Orion Group which comprises the central Canterbury electricity distribution business, Orion, and its wholly owned subsidiary, Connetics, which provides design, construction and maintenance services to the electricity distribution industry in New Zealand.

Together, the new Orion Group Chief Executive will be responsible for a combined asset base of $1.2billion and more than 600 staff.

Nigel is currently Chief Executive of Powerco, New Zealand’s second largest electricity distribution business, based in New Plymouth. He has been with Powerco for 19 years in a range of executive management positions, and has been Powerco Chief Executive for more than nine years.  He has an economics and legal background and previously held roles with Transpower and the Bank of New Zealand.

Announcing the appointment, Jane Taylor, Orion Group Chair, said, “The Board of Orion is delighted to have secured the services of such an extremely well connected, experienced and capable executive.

“Nigel has an impressive track record of delivering results in the electricity sector and we look forward to him bringing Orion’s strategic vision to life to serve the future needs of our communities.

“This is a challenging and exciting time of change in the electricity sector. With Nigel’s leadership, the Orion Group will take a leading role in supporting the Canterbury region and customers nationally to transition to a low carbon future.” 

Ex Connetics CEO and Group Transformation lead, Jono Brent, has been Interim Orion Group Chief Executive since the departure of previous Group CE Rob Jamieson in September 2020 and will continue in that role until Nigel takes up his new position mid-year.

The Orion Group is 89% owned by CCHL, the investment arm of Christchurch City Council, and 11% owned by Selwyn District Council.

Nigel Barbour

Nigel Barbour, in-coming Orion Group Chief Executive