Board of Directors

Our Board of Directors is appointed by the Shareholders Committee. There are seven directors with two directors retiring by rotation every year. Directors are responsible for governance and setting the strategic direction of the business. The board meet monthly.

Shareholders Committee

Representing the interests of all shareholders, the Shareholders Committee consists of seven members. Four are voted on by shareholders with the remaining three appointed by the Ashburton District Council. Key responsibilities include; appointing directors, scrutinising the Statement of Corporate Intent and monitoring the performance of the company on behalf of shareholders.

Board of Directors

Andrew Barlass Professional Photo 1

Andrew Barlass


Andrew is a senior finance industry professional who lives in Mid Canterbury and currently oversees a large dairy farming business. His local and international experience spans a range of industries including regulated utilities, infrastructure, airports, ports, funds management and industrial and agribusiness sectors.

Richard Fitzgerald Professional Photo 1

Richard Fitzgerald

Richard is a professional agribusiness executive and consultant, with an active involvement in an intensive irrigated Mid Canterbury-based family farm. He is a Nuffield Scholar and formerly the CEO of NZ Young Farmers and the Primary Industry Capability Alliance. He has a broad base of corporate experience which includes a number of national leadership roles, collaboration across sector groups, and strategic development and implementation.


Paul Munro

Paul has over 25 years of financial and commercial experience across a broad cross section of companies and industries including a 24 year career as a Corporate Finance Partner at Deloitte and six years as CEO of a publicly owned investment company which managed a portfolio of commercial infrastructure investments. Paul also has 10+ years’ experience as an Independent Director with his Board experience including current or former Director roles with MHV Water, Online Distribution, Lynn River, Orion New Zealand, Toitu Envirocare, Central Plains Water, Spanbild Holdings, and Venues Otautahi. Paul is a Chartered Accountant Fellow (FCA) of CAANZ and a Chartered Fellow (CFInstD) of the New Zealand Institute of Directors.

Janine Holland Professional Photo 1

Janine Holland

Janine runs her own consultancy providing resource management, communications and governance services. She has worked for industry body IrrigationNZ, irrigation schemes and agribusiness, alongside local and central Government. Janine is also chairperson of Methven Care Trust.


Cole Groves

Rob Jamieson

Rob Jamieson

Rob has been a member of the Board since September 2023 and has worked in the New Zealand Electricity industry for over 35 years, including as Chief Executive of Orion NZ Limited and Chair of Connetics Ltd. Rob has master's degrees in electrical engineering and business administration. He is also a chartered member of the NZ Institute of Directors. Rob's other roles include chair of Electricity Invercargill Ltd and director of Marlborough Lines.

Dita Ciulacu

Dita Ciulacu

Associate Director (Intern)

Dita, a seasoned IT professional with over 20 years of experience in the technology and business world, has been one of the recipients of the Canterbury Emerging Director Award for 2023 and is currently serving as an Associate Director (Intern) on the EA Networks Board. She also holds the role of IT & Facilities Lead at Forte Health and she actively engages with her community, contributing as a board member for not-for-profits and volunteering with various organisations.

Shareholders Committee Members


Robert Newlands

Committee Chair

Robert is Managing Director of Newlands Auto Electrical in Ashburton, Rolleston and Timaru Batteries in Timaru. He is a 50% shareholder in Canterbury Communications Ltd. Robert is a member of the Automotive Electrical Engineering Reference Group with the Motor Industry Training Organisation and a committee member of the Mid Canterbury Mountain Bike Club. Robert has been a member of the Shareholders' Committee since 2017.

Alister Lilley

Alister Lilley

Alister is an Ashburton businessman with ownership interests in the Retail and Service industry sectors including local commercial properties. Alister is an experienced company Director and Chairman who was elected to the shareholders committee in 2017.

Jeanette Maxwell

Jeanette Maxwell

Jeanette Maxwell is married with three children and farms in partnership with her husband on a 300ha foothills sheep and beef property in Mid Canterbury. Jeanette has been actively involved in Federated Farmers since 2005 and has held the role of Meat and Fibre Chairperson and a National board member along with other portfolios. Jeanette is also involved with a variety of organisations both locally and nationally.

David Ward

David Ward

David runs a spray irrigated cropping and stock finishing farm near Fairton with his wife Hilary. He has been a member of the Shareholders' Committee since 2006.

Anne Marett

Anne Marett

Formerly a registered nurse Anne is a Chartered Accountant and recently retired after selling her accountancy business in Ashburton. She is currently a member of the Professional Conduct Committee of the NZ Institute of Chartered Accountants, and a Director of AML ME Ltd which provides anti money laundering audits to a number of clients. Anne has been a Ashburton District Council appointee to the EA networks Shareholders committee since 2013

Tony Potts WEB 2

Tony Potts

Stuart Begg Photo supplied

Stuart Begg

Stuart was born and raised in Ashburton on a Wakanui family farm. He is married to Julia and has two children who are currently attending Ashburton College. Stuart is the General Manager and a director of Cates Grain & Seed Ltd and has worked in the agricultural sector for 30+ years, he is also currently a director of several Agri businesses based in Canterbury. Outside of business he is actively involved with coaching and managing local rugby and cricket teams as well as serving on local sports clubs’ committees.