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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 on the boards of several major companies and organisations, including: Summerset Group Holdings Limited (Chairman) and ANZ Bank New Zealand Limited (Director). He is also the former Chairs of Freightways Limited, Spark New Zealand Limited and Transpower New Zealand Limited. He is a 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.

Jan Dawson

Jan Dawson

Independent Director, CNZM, BCom, FCA (CAANZ), FINSTD

Jan Dawson joined the Meridian Board in November 2012. Jan is Chair of the People and Remuneration Committee and serves on the Audit and Risk Committee. Jan is Chair of Ports of Auckland Limited and a director of Serko Limited.

Jan is a professional independent director. She was previously the Chair of Westpac New Zealand, Deputy Chair of Air New Zealand, director of AIG Insurance New Zealand Limited and Chief Executive of KPMG New Zealand, following a career spanning 30 years specialising in audit and accounting services in the United Kingdom, Canada and New Zealand. She is a Councillor of the University of Auckland.

Jan was previously Vice President of World Sailing, President of Yachting New Zealand and a director of Beca Group, Goodman Fielder Limited and Counties Manukau District Health Board.

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, accounting and auditing expertise. Her executive career at PWC included significant experience in sustainability and risk management. Julia has a very strong governance pedigree and is currently a Director of a number of large New Zealand companies including Auckland International Airport, Port of Tauranga, a2 Milk, Watercare Services and AWF Madison.

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.

Mark Cairns

Mark Cairns

Independent Director, BE (Hons), BBS, MMGT, EngNZ

Mark Cairns joined the Meridian Board in July 2012. Mark is Chair of the Safety & Sustainability Committee.
Mark has extensive experience in infrastructure, port operations, and logistics. He is the Chair of Freightways Limited and holds directorships with Auckland International Airport Limited and Sanford Limited. He was the former Chief Executive of NZX-listed Port of Tauranga Limited for over 15 years and former Chief Executive of C 3 Limited (formerly Toll Owens Limited) for five years, following his role as General Manager (Central) at Fulton Hogan Limited.

Mark has previously been the Chair of Quality Marshalling (Mount Maunganui) Limited and held director roles in Coda Group Limited, Northport Limited, Port of Tauranga Trustee Company Limited, PrimePort Timaru Limited, C 3 Limited and Tapper Transport Limited.

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 and previously held the role of Chief Operating Officer of PowerNet, an electricity distribution company, leading 200 employees across risk management, health and safety, infrastructure, and operations skillsets. Michelle has experience in business delivery, process innovation, and ensuring people safety.

Nagaja Sanatkumar

Nagaja Sanatkumar

Independent Director, MBA, BTech CE, CMInstD

Nagaja Sanatkumar joined the Meridian Board in January 2020. Nagaja serves on the People and Remuneration Committee and Safety & Sustainability Committee. Nagaja has an impressive international career including senior roles at both Amazon and Expedia. While at Amazon, she led various facets of Online Grocery, Trade In and Rentals, which built on her expertise across retail, customer experience innovation, P&L ownership, and digital technology. Nagaja studied chemical engineering at IIT Bombay and then moved to the US to take up a consulting role with Deloitte, before completing an MBA from the University of Washington. Nagaja has over 20 years’ global executive and leadership experience. She is also a Director for Foodstuffs North Island Limited, New Zealand Post, Mediaworks, Ultrafast Fibre and the Cawthron Institute. Nagaja has also held the role of General Manager Global Digital at Icebreaker.

Tania Simpson v2

Tania Simpson

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

Tania joined the Meridian Board in August 2021. She services on the People and Remuneration Committee and 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 is currently the Deputy Chair.