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Lyttelton Port Company Board of Directors chair Margaret Devlin last week confirmed the appointment of LPC acting CEO Kirstie Gardener as permanent chief executive officer, with immediate effect.

In a statement LPC said the decision was made after a “thorough, two-staged recruitment process”. That process began in January when the previous CEO, Roger Gray, decamped to take over as CEO of Ports of Auckland.

The appointment comes at a difficult time after an incident at LPC on ANZAC Day morning in which LPC employee Don Grant was killed during the loading of a coal vessel.

The company said it is aware of the circumstances in which this announcement is made and acknowledged the family and friends of Mr Grant.

Ms Devlin said this is a very difficult time for Mr Grant’s family, as it is for his friends here at LPC.

“We will continue to support those affected in any way we can, going forward,” she said.

“On behalf of the board, I am keen to reiterate our commitment to cooperating fully with the active investigations being conducted at LPC. I also want to reiterate our intentions to take away learnings and process changes from those investigations once they have concluded.”

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Ms Gardener has worked at LPC for four years, after first moving to the port from ANZCO, where she was general manager human resources. Her role prior to taking on the mantle as CEO at LPC was general manager people and safety.

Ms Gardener said she was pleased to have accepted the role in a permanent capacity, having been acting CEO from December 2021.

“I am aware of the circumstances in which this announcement comes, and I am determined to ensure that we learn from the tragedy and help make the port sector safer,” she said.

“I am also committed to ensuring that LPC continues to play its role in delivering positive outcomes for Canterbury.”

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