Spark appoints female chair

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The chairman of Spark is New Zealand has confirmed he will be retiring later this year with non-executive director Justine Smyth set to take his spot.

“With best practice governance succession planning in mind, I have decided I will retire from the board of directors of Spark New Zealand at the end of the annual meeting of shareholders in November this year,” current chairmen Mark Verbiest wrote in a statement.

Verbiest pointed out that more that half of the current board – including himself – were appointed upon the demerger with Chorus back in 2011.

“At some point, it will be appropriate for each of the long-serving directors to transition off the board,” he wrote.

“As a consequence, I do not believe it would be good governance to risk having several directors potentially retiring in short order, and, as the director with the longest association with Spark I prefer to lead by example.”

Current director Justine Smyth is set to step into the role on 3 November, 2017 – she is also a director of Auckland International Airport and chair of Breast Cancer Foundation NZ.

“It will be an honour to serve as the chair for Spark, a company I believe plays a vital role for New Zealand,” said Smyth.

“I’d also like to take the opportunity to acknowledge the enormous contribution Mark has made to Spark, and through the company to New Zealand, over many years,” she continued.

“He has always skilfully led discussion around the board table and sought to get the best possible outcome. As a result, he has set an outstanding governance example and helped drive the transformation of Spark as a business and as a driver of New Zealand’s economy.”

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