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Big Changes To The Southern Cross Boards

17 September 2008

Big Changes To The Southern Cross Boards

Southern Cross Healthcare group has made three key appointments at governance level, with Dr Harley Gray becoming Chairman of Southern Cross Hospitals Ltd and Mr Graeme Hawkins and Mr Mark Verbiest joining the Southern Cross Medical Care Society board.

Dr Harley Gray, who was an eminent orthopaedic surgeon at Auckland’s Middlemore Hospital until 2001 was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2003.

Graeme Hawkins has been a professional director for 15 years, is Chairman of Watercare Services and was an independent director of Fonterra Co-operative Group until 2007.

Mark Verbiest was group general counsel and a member of Telecom’s senior executive team from late 2000 through to June 2008.

As Chairman of Southern Cross Hospitals Ltd, Dr Gray replaces Mr Jeff Todd who is stepping down as Chairman but will remain a director. Mr Todd continues as Chairman of Southern Cross Medical Care Society. Dr Gray, who has served on the board of the Society since 2004, is stepping down from that board in order to fully devote himself to his new role with the hospitals.

“Having worked closely with Harley over a number of years, I am confident we have in him a Chairman with the medical and governance experience to oversee the growth and management of New Zealand’s largest not-for-profit hospitals network,” said Mr Todd.

Dr Gray is a former President of the New Zealand Orthopaedic Association and the Auckland Medico Legal Society. He has served as Vice President of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, as a Director of Capital Coast Health and Chair of the Clinical Board and as Chief Medical Officer for South Auckland Health.

Mr Todd welcomed Mr Hawkins and Mr Verbiest to the Southern Cross Medical Care Society Board, saying both would bring significant experience at both governance and management level to the board table of the health insurance business.

“We are very pleased to have attracted directors of this calibre. The Society has undergone considerable growth and its more than 830,000 members look to the Board to ensure that we continue to offer health care cover which is both affordable and sustainable. I believe Graeme and Mark will make a valuable contribution.”

Mr Todd said the appointments would also enable the new directors to become fully conversant with the group, its strategies and priorities ahead of the retirement of Dr Susan Macken as a director after 12 years of service and his own retirement after 11 years of service. Both retirements had been signalled to the board and would take place by the end of the financial year in June 2009.

Graeme Hawkins has Bachelor of Science and Commerce degrees and is an Associate Chartered Accountant. He has held a number of strategic and financial roles in Fletcher Challenge and is a former CEO of Dominion Breweries.

Mr Verbiest has a Bachelor of Laws and represented Telecom as Chairman of an international cable joint venture, as well as representing Telecom on the boards of other companies in which Telecom had a significant interest. Prior to 2000, he was a senior partner in national law firm Simpson Grierson specialising in mergers and acquisitions and securities, competition and utilities-related law. He is also a director of Gas Industry Company Limited, a co-regulatory body established by the Government and industry as co-regulator of New Zealand’s gas industry.

Mr Todd said that Southern Cross as a group of businesses in New Zealand’s health sector had an exciting future and the new appointments at governance level would make an important contribution to the group’s overall development.


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