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Board of directors

Meet the Meridian directors

Mark Verbiest

Mark Verbiest

Chair, Independent Director, LLB, CFInstD

Mark Verbiest joined the Meridian Board in March 2017, he was appointed Chair in October 2019.

Mark is an experienced company director, currently serving as the Chair of Summerset Group Holdings Limited. He is also the former Chairs of Freightways Limited, Spark New Zealand Limited and Transpower New Zealand Limited. He is a former director for ANZ Bank New Zealand Limited and former board member of the Financial Markets Authority and former member of the Advisory Board to New Zealand Treasury.

Mark has had significant involvement and experience in the energy and technology sectors, as well as capital markets, in a variety of roles, over many years.

Julia Hoare

Julia Hoare

Independent Director, BCom, FCA, CMInstD

Julia Hoare joined the Meridian board 26 September 2019. Julia is Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee.

Julia has extensive governance, financial, and commercial expertise. She has a very strong governance pedigree and is currently President and Chair of the Institute of Directors, Chair of Port of Tauranga, and a Director of Auckland International Airport, a2 Milk and Comvita Limited. During her executive career, Julia was a partner at PwC for two decades where she gained significant sustainability, financial and tax experience.

In addition to significant commercial and financial experience in both the private and public sectors, Julia’s skills also span infrastructure, logistics, utilities, and sustainable business practices.

Michelle Henderson

Michelle Henderson

Independent Director - BE (Hons) and CMinstD

Michelle joined the Meridian Board in October 2019. Michelle serves on the Safety and Sustainability Committee and the Audit and Risk Committee.

She has extensive engineering and industrial expertise, with more than 20 years of experience in the Australasian heavy industry sector. Based in Invercargill, Michelle is currently on the board on Fulton Hogan, Cycling New Zealand Incorporated, South Port NZ Limited and Awarua Holding Limited.

Michelle is a former executive of Rio Tinto, both in New Zealand and Australia. She previously held the role of Chief Operating Officer of PowerNet, an electricity distribution company. Michelle has experience in health and safety, infrastructure and risk management.

Nagaja Sanatkumar

Nagaja Sanatkumar

Independent Director, MBA, BTech CE, CMInstD

Nagaja Sanatkumar joined the Meridian Board in January 2020. She is the Chair of the Safety & Sustainability Committee and also serves on the People, Remuneration & Culture Committee.

She has an impressive international career with global executive and leadership experience, with a focus on software information technology at scale. She has held senior roles at Amazon and Expedia, leading digital information technology solutions and customer experience innovation for eCommerce retail, travel, and financial services products.

Nagaja studied Chemical Engineering at IIT Bombay before moving to the US for a consulting role with Deloitte. She completed her MBA from the University of Washington in 2003 and is currently studying a Masters in Sustainable Development Goals at Massey University.

Tania Simpson v2

Tania Simpson

Independent Director - M.M Māori, B.A Māori, AFInstD

Tania joined the Meridian Board in August 2021. Tania is Chair of the People, Remuneration & Committee and also serves on the Safety & Sustainability Committee. Tania is currently a director at Tainui Group Holdings Limited and Auckland International Airport Limited, is the Chair of the Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge and a member of the Deep South National Science Challenge. Tania is also a member of the Waitangi Tribunal and Deputy Chair of the Waitangi National Trust.

Tania has extensive experience in corporate governance, policy development and business having served as a director of Mighty River Power Limited for 13 years from 2001. She also holds the distinction of being the first Māori director on the Reserve Bank of New Zealand Board where she was the Deputy Chair.

Graham website

Graham Cockroft

Independent Director - MCom, Masters in Finance, CMInstD

Graham Cockroft joined the Meridian Board in July 2022. He serves on the Audit and Risk Committee and the People and Remuneration Committee.

Graham has over 30 years’ experience in the international energy industry, with executive roles in the UK, South America, New Zealand and Asia. His experiences have been across the energy chain and under different political, economic and regulatory regimes. He has a strong financial background and extensive experience in strategy and business development. During his executive career Graham served as Group CFO at SGX-listed Sembcorp Industries Limited, Singapore, CFO and COO at Contact Energy Limited, NZ, and in various senior executive roles for close to two decades at the UK energy company BG Group (now part of Shell plc), primarily in the UK and South America. Graham is currently a director of ASX-listed AGL Energy Limited and Tuatahi First Fibre LTD.

David Carter

David Carter

Independent Director, BE (Civil) (Hons), ME, PhD

David Carter joined the Meridian Board in July 2023 and serves on the Safety and Sustainability Committee.

David has been with the Beca group of companies since 1988 and during his 30 plus years of experience has held various positions within the group. Since 2017 David has been the Group Executive Chair at Beca Group Ltd.

A civil engineer by profession, David has worked across a range of sectors within New Zealand and offshore, from airports to ports, and wastewater treatment plants to heavy duty pavements. He has worked on remediation of the Larona hydro canal and on foundations for high rise structures. David has worked on a range of major projects including the Victorian (Australia) Desalination plant as a board member of the design JV and was also a technical reviewer of the resource consent for the Kioreweku Hydroelectric project.