PORTS of Auckland board chair Jan Dawson announced the appointment of two new directors for the port: Geoff Plunket and Stephen Reindler.

Ms Dawson said they both bring relevant skills to the board that will complement the current directors and support current focus areas.

“Stephen is currently a director of Z Energy and Steel and Tube and a previous director of Port of Napier, Meridian Energy and Worksafe NZ,” Ms Dawson said.

“He has extensive experience working in industries where staff operate in higher risk roles and a rigorous approach to safety is needed. Stephen will strengthen our ability to focus on improving safety while bringing his engineering experience to the projects the port has underway.”

MS Dawson continued, saying Mr Plunket is a former CEO of Port Otago and he has nearly 30 years of experience in senor roles in that company.

“Geoff’s knowledge of port operations and the supply chain and his belief in the importance of customer service will be invaluable as we work to safely improve our operational and financial performance,” she said.

“I am delighted to have been able to recruit such strong candidates to the Ports of Auckland board, which I believe reflects the importance of the Port to Auckland and New Zealand and bodes well for the future of the company.”

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said the Ports of Auckland board composition has been substantially changed and a new chief executive is expected to start next year.

“This will provide impetus for a new and different approach which is aimed to improve the port’s performance,” he said.

“We look forward to the new board fully implementing the recommendations to change the culture of health and safety at the port following the independent review; meeting the challenges posed by COVID-19 and its impact on supply chains, overseeing the implementation of automation at the port, and improving the port’s financial performance and competitiveness.”

The port commissioned a safety review following two fatal accidents at the port in recently years. In one accident, on 30 August 2020, a port worker was crushed by a container during cargo operations.

Ports of Auckland’s CEO Tony Gibson stepped down at the end of June this year amid what he called “persistent and sometimes personal attacks”.

In August this year, Mr Gibson was charged over the death of the port worker in August.