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Crown board has little telco experience

29 Oct 2009

The board that will oversee the government’s $1.5 billion broadband network has been announced by ICT Minister Steven Joyce.

Former Chair of NZX, and founder and former Managing Director of ABN AMRONew Zealand Simon Allen, has been appointed as Chair of Crown Fibre Holdings.Andrew Body, Miriam Dean QC, Dr Murray Milner and Keith Tempest have been appointed board members.

Only Milner has direct telecommunications experience, he is a former CTO at Telecom and is currently a board member of Christchurch’s publically funded fibre company Enable Networks (the company announced a profit this week). A spokesperson for the Minister says one of the conditions of Milner's appointment is that he will resign from the Enable Board. Milner is currently overseas.

Mr Joyce says he’s very pleased with the high calibre of the inaugural board. “Crown Fibre Holdings is being created as an expert and independent decision-making body, and this board represents the range of skills and experience necessary to deliver the government’s ultra-fast broadband initiative.”

Appointments are for a three-year term, commencing immediately. One of their first duties will be to appoint a CEO.

Further Board members may be announced at a later time.

Their biographies are as follows:

Mr Simon Allen (Chair)

Mr Simon Allen is a highly regarded investment banker with more than 20 years experience advising New Zealand’s major industries. He formed ABN AMRO New Zealand as a green-fields operation in 1988, leading it to become one of the country’s foremost registered banks. He resigned as Chief Executive in September of this year. Previously Mr Allen has advised the Crown on the sale of Contact Energy Limited, the Auckland Energy Trust on its investment in Mercury Energy (now Vector) and Telecom Corporation of New Zealand on the largest share buy back in New Zealand history.

Mr Allen Chaired New Zealand Exchange Limited (NZX) from 2001 until 2008 and has also served on the boards of McConnell properties, ABN Amro Craigs and Auckland Healthcare. He is currently a trustee of St Cuthbert’s College in Auckland, and Snowvision, a charitable trust which promotes high performance snow sports.


Andrew Body

Mr Andrew Body has 19 years experience as a successful investment banker and private banker. He was a shareholder and Director of FR Partners until 2001. Since, he has continued his interest in investment banking, with a focus on mergers and acquisitions, and strong experience in network industries.


Miriam Dean QC

Ms Miriam Dean QC has extensive governance and commercial law experience. A former Partner at Russell McVeagh, Ms Dean is currently a Barrister sole whose practise focuses on commercial and competition law, arbitration and mediation. She was made Queen’s Counsel in 2004. Ms Dean has recently been appointed as a member of the Auckland Transition Authority and has participated in the Government’s recent electricity review.

Dr Murray Milner

Dr Murray Milner is a world class telecommunications technology expert with a doctorate in electrical engineering and 34 years experience in the New Zealand ICT industry. He held a variety of senior positions within Telecom New Zealand including, until September 2005, Chief Technology Officer. Since leaving Telecom in 2001 he has worked as a consultant and has also held a range of governance positions including Chair of Harmonic, a software development firm specialising in applications for the telecommunications, agriculture and telecommunications sectors.

Keith Tempest In December Mr Keith Tempest will retire as Chief Executive of TrustPower, a Bay of Plenty based electricity generator, after 23 years with the firm. As Chief Executive he is recognised as having overseen strong commercial performance and has a strong track record of managing large capital projects.