Executive Team

Nigel Barbour - Chief Executive

B.Com, LLB

Mr Barbour is the Chief Executive of Powerco. He is responsible for leading the business to deliver on all customer, financial and operational targets.

He joined Powerco in October 2002 and since then has been in executive management positions, including General Manager Electricity. He was appointed Chief Executive in October 2011. He is a board member of the New Zealand Electricity Networks Association and the Gas Industry Company.

Mr Barbour has an economics and legal background and has previously held roles with Transpower and the Bank of New Zealand.

Ryno Verster – General Manager Asset Strategy and Investment

BEng(Elec), MEng(Elec), MBA

Mr Verster heads the asset management of Powerco’s electricity network business, with responsibility for the company’s asset management strategy and network investment plans.  He is also responsible for overseeing the transformation of the electricity network in response to emerging energy options and opportunities.

Before joining Powerco in 2015, he held executive and senior management roles in Vector.  He also has extensive international experience in engineering and management consulting. He has advised on energy regulation, asset management, asset valuation, due diligence studies for mergers and acquisitions, and engineering design and project management.

Mr Verster has served on several industry working groups and bodies. He is a member of the New Zealand Smart Grid Forum and the Electricity Networks Association’s Smart Technology Working Group.

Chris Taylor - Chief Financial Officer


Mr Taylor is Powerco’s Chief Financial Officer, responsible for the company’s accounting and treasury activities.

Mr Taylor joined Powerco in October 2016. He is a chartered accountant with more than 20 years’ experience in the energy sector and professional services. Prior to working at Powerco, Mr Taylor was the General Manager of Finance at Counties Power and was a partner at PwC, advising on a range of sector issues.

Mr Taylor has a Bachelor of Commerce, a Master of Business Administration and is a member of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, the Institute of Directors, and Governance NZ.

Stuart Dickson - General Manager Customer


Mr Dickson joined Powerco in 2011 as the General Manager of Powerco’s Gas Business and was appointed as General Manager Customer in 2020.

He is a professional engineer who has worked in the gas and energy industry for the past 20 years in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

His experience spans asset strategy and management, network and plant operations, project delivery, consulting and engineering.

Julie McAvoy - General Manager Health and Safety

MSc, BEng(Hons)

Mrs McAvoy holds a Bachelor Mechanical Engineering Degree and a Master in Mechatronics.

During her 25 years’ experience, she has held a number of engineering, project management and leadership roles in the UK and New Zealand in heavy engineering and marine, including eight years with Rolls Royce Marine.

Since immigrating to New Zealand in 2009, Mrs McAvoy's experience has been in the oil and gas sector in Taranaki. She has worked for an integrated energy company and in engineering, procurement, construction contractors in operations, engineering leadership and quality, health, safety and environment roles.

Her experience ranges from engineering and project management, design for safety, lean six sigma, and quality, health, safety and environment management through to strategic planning and execution.

Brigitte Colombo – Chief Information Officer 

BSurv(Hons), BSc

As Chief Information Officer, Mrs Colombo is responsible for managing information and digital technologies for Powerco.

Mrs Colombo holds a Bachelor of Surveying, a Bachelor of Computer Science, and a Certificate in Management and Leadership. Before returning to New Zealand in 2014, she enjoyed an international IT career working across industry sectors in technology infrastructure and applications implementation roles, IT operations, business development, strategy and change management. She held executive positions in the United Kingdom and New Zealand and joined Powerco in 2017.


Ian Skipworth – General Manager Service Delivery and Systems Operations  

BEng(Mech), CEng, MIMecheE                                

Mr Skipworth leads Powerco’s Electricity Service Delivery and Operational Teams. He joined Powerco in 2018.

Mr Skipworth is a chartered engineer with 25 years’ experience in industrial engineering, high precision manufacturing and continuous chemical processing sectors. He has previously held business leadership positions in the UK, Indonesia, New Zealand and Australia before returning to New Zealand to join Powerco.

Before working for Powerco Mr Skipworth led a business transformation programme for Nexans based in Melbourne.

Eric Pellicer - General Manager Business Development


Mr Pellicer joined Powerco in 2011, holding a number of roles across the organisation prior to being appointed General Manager Business Development in 2018.

Before joining Powerco, Mr Pellicer worked as a management consultant across several sectors including healthcare, insurance, technology and government in Canada and the US.

Mr Pellicer has a Bachelor of Arts in Economics. He is a board member at Drive Electric New Zealand.

Emma Bennett - Group Human Resources Manager

BA, BSc(Hons), MBA 

Ms Bennett was appointed as Powerco’s Group Human Resources Manager in 2019. She leads the team responsible for delivering Powerco’s people and culture strategy which includes industry-leading approaches to delivering Powerco’s individual, team and company performance ambitions.
Before joining Powerco, she held a number of senior manufacturing and human resources roles in Fonterra. She has public and private sector experience in strategy development and deployment, operational excellence, high performing environments, and mergers and acquisitions.

Ms Bennett holds degrees in international business, psychology and political studies, and is a member of the Institute of Directors.

Nicolas Vessiot - General Manager Gas

Mr Vessiot joined Powerco in 2012. He held several senior management positions within Powerco before being appointed General Manager Gas in 2020.

Mr Vessiot holds a Master of Science in Engineering from École Centrale Paris. Prior to joining Powerco, he held several roles in the energy industry in France and in New Zealand as a management consultant.