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Managing director leaves Orion after success


Media release

30 January 2003

Managing director leaves Orion after successful tenure

Orion New Zealand managing director Chris Laurie is leaving the company after 15 successful years at its helm. He will head the Brisbane-based renewable energy company, Energy Developments Limited, Orion chairman Linda Constable announced today.

Ms Constable says the board accepted Mr Laurie’s resignation with regret, commenting that under Mr Laurie’s leadership Orion has performed outstandingly.

“Chris has steered the company through the tortuous energy reforms of the last decade, producing results which are second to none in the New Zealand energy sector,” she says. “He will be sorely missed and we wish him all the very best.”

Mr Laurie has been managing director since 1988. Shortly after his appointment he managed the formation of Orion’s predecessor, Southpower, from the Christchurch Municipal Electricity Department and Central Canterbury Electric Power Board. As a consequence of the energy reforms the Southpower electricity retail business was sold in 1998 and the electricity network was rebranded Orion.

“Chris was instrumental in achieving substantial change within Southpower which enabled it, and then Orion, to lead the industry in its approach to asset management, customer service and efficient business processes and systems.

“Not only has the performance of the electricity network improved consistently over the last decade, but the Christchurch City and Selwyn and Banks Peninsula District Councils have benefited by some $650 million through the strong and innovative leadership shown by Mr Laurie.” The cash distributions received by the shareholder councils have come by way of dividends and capital repatriations.

“He also led the purchase and sale of a number of significant businesses, including the merger and then sale of the gas company, Enerco New Zealand, which produced a surplus of more than $200 million for Orion.”

Mr Laurie has been on the board of directors of Energy Developments since Orion purchased 9.9% in Energy Developments Limited, in July 2002, and has been acting managing director since November 2002, sharing his time between Energy Developments Limited and Orion.

Mr Laurie says “Having been acting managing director for three months I am looking forward to taking over full time and continuing to make a difference, taking Energy Developments forward as a leader in global renewable energy.”
Energy Developments is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange and operates an international portfolio of projects focussed on renewable and innovative energy and environmental solutions. The company's integrated project capabilities include development, finance, design, manufacturing, construction, operation and maintenance. It has operations in Australia, Asia, Europe and the US and has an annual turnover of $A110 million.
Mr Laurie will continue in the position as managing director at Orion over a transition period.

Ends

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