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Spark New Zealand shakes up leadership squad 



Stefan Knight will step into the role of chief financial officer at Spark New Zealand, effective 1 March 2020. 

Knight steps into the shoes of David Chalmers, who is returning to Melbourne after three years in the role. 

Currently finance lead partner, Knight has been with Spark since 2003 and has worked across a range of finance- and business performance-related roles. 

Spark chief executive Jolie Hodson says Knight played a key role over recent years in important Spark initiatives, including the Turnaround and Quantum business improvement programmes and, more recently, was part of the leadership group that helped shape the organisation’s move to an Agile way of working. 

“Stefan brings an exemplary breadth and depth of experience to the CFO role, has delivered outstanding commercial, customer and cultural results and proved himself as a strong internal successor,” she explains. 

 Hodson recognised Chalmers’ strong contribution since he joined Spark in October 2016.

"David’s commercial acumen and extensive business experience have seen him successfully lead several strategic business initiatives over the last three years, especially our evolving media strategy, which has successfully established Spark Sport as a major new player in New Zealand’s sports media landscape," she says.

 As well as the new CFO appointment, Spark has also announced that Leela Gantman will take on the role of corporate relations director, effective January 2020. She will succeed Andrew Pirie who, as was announced in August, is leaving his leadership role at Spark at the end of 2019. 

 Gantman is a highly-experienced corporate communications professional with over 18 years experience in corporate and agency roles in New Zealand and Australia. She has been head of communications at Fletcher Building since April 2017, and prior to this was external relations director at beverages group Lion in Australia.  

“Leela will join my Leadership Squad and brings to Spark her outstanding experience across reputation strategy, sustainability, community and government engagement," says Hodson. 

"She is passionate about Spark’s purpose and is keen to help articulate the significant role we play for so many New Zealanders.” 

Effective 1 March 2020, the Spark Leadership Squad will be as follows:

Chief Executive Jolie Hodson

Corporate Relations Director Leela Gantman

Customer Director Grant McBeath

Finance Director (CFO) Stefan Knight

General Counsel Melissa Anastasiou

Human Resources Director Heather Polglase

Marketing Director Matt Bain

Product Director Tessa Tierney

Technology Director Mark Beder