Executive Team

Nigel Barbour - Chief Executive


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

He joined Powerco in October 2002 and has been in executive management roles for the past 13 years, 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, and is a member of the New Zealand Security and Reliability Council.

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 Management and Network Transformation

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.

Jo Birnie - Group Human Resources Manager 

BSc (Hons), Psy, CIPD

Mrs Birnie joined Powerco in June 2010. Before her current role, she was employed as an HR advisor specialising in learning and development.

Since immigrating with her family to New Zealand from the United Kingdom in 2007, Mrs Birnie has held generalist HR roles as well as being Committee Secretary for the Human Resources Institute of New Zealand Taranaki branch.

She has more than 10 years’ experience in human resources, holding management, specialist, generalist and business partner roles in the private and public sectors including central Government, health, and the retail industry. Her HR specialist areas include leadership, organisational development, change management and coaching. In addition to HR roles, she has worked on European funding and corporate business projects.

Mrs Birnie completed her Psychology degree at University in the United Kingdom and is a graduate member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (UK) and a member of the Human Resources Institute of New Zealand.

Stuart Dickson - General Manager (Gas)

BEng (Mech)

Mr Dickson joined Powerco in 2011 as the General Manager of Powerco’s Gas Business. 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.

Before joining Powerco, Mr Dickson worked as a consultant within the gas industry and was previously part of Vector’s Gas Management Team.

Stuart Marshall - General Manager Regulation and Commercial

Mr Marshall joined Powerco in 2010 as Treasurer. In 2017 he was appointed General Manager Regulation and Commercial.

He is responsible for managing commercial policy interactions with the company’s economic and technical regulators, corporate relations with its customers and official stakeholders, the company’s pricing strategy, and internal and external communications including public relations.

Before joining Powerco Mr Marshall was the General Manager of Bancorp Treasury Services, Australasia’s largest provider of treasury consultancy services. He has a Bachelor of Management Studies, and is a certified member of the New Zealand Institute of Financial Professionals, the Finance and Treasury Association, and the Institute of Directors.

Julie McAvoy - Group Health, Safety, Environmental and Quality Manager

MSc, BEng (Hons)

Mrs McAvoy holds a Mechanical Engineering Degree and a Masters 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

B. Surv (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.

Last Updated: 06 Dec 2018 - 12:54:34