Executive Team

Chris Taylor – Acting Chief Executive


Mr Taylor has been appointed as Powerco’s Acting Chief Executive until mid-October 2021. During this time, he is responsible for leading the business to deliver on all customer, financial and operational targets.

When his acting appointment ends, Mr Taylor will return to his role as Powerco’s Chief Financial Officer, responsible for the company’s accounting and treasury activities. He joined Powerco in October 2016.

Mr Taylor is a chartered accountant with over 20 years’ experience in the energy sector and professional services. Prior to working for Powerco, he was the GM of Finance at Counties Power, and was a Partner at PwC advising on a range of sector issues.

Mr Taylor has a Bachelor of Commerce, a Master of Business Administration, and is a member of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, the Institute of Directors, and Governance NZ.

Ryno Verster – General Manager Asset Strategy and Investment

BEng(Elec), MEng(Elec), MBA

Mr Verster heads the asset management of Powerco’s electricity network business, with responsibility for the company’s asset management strategy and network investment plans.  He is also responsible for overseeing the transformation of the electricity network in response to emerging energy options and opportunities.

Before joining Powerco in 2015, he held executive and senior management roles in Vector.  He also has extensive international experience in engineering and management consulting. He has advised on energy regulation, asset management, asset valuation, due diligence studies for mergers and acquisitions, and engineering design and project management.

Mr Verster has served on several industry working groups and bodies. He is a member of the New Zealand Smart Grid Forum and the Electricity Networks Association’s Smart Technology Working Group.

Ben Pollard- Acting Chief Financial Officer


Mr Pollard is Powerco’s Acting Chief Financial Officer, responsible for the company’s accounting and treasury activities.

Mr Pollard joined Powerco in July 2010, holding a number of roles since then, including Group Financial Controller and Senior Financial Analyst. He is a chartered accountant with more than 15 years of experience in the energy sector and professional services. Prior to working at Powerco, Mr Pollard was the Financial Controller at Taranaki Rugby Union and has also worked at Deloitte as part of the Audit team.

Mr Pollard has a Bachelor of Commerce and Administration from Victoria University and is a member of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand.

Stuart Dickson - General Manager Customer


Mr Dickson joined Powerco in 2011 as the General Manager of Powerco’s Gas Business and was appointed as General Manager Customer in 2020.

He is a professional engineer who has worked in the gas and energy industry for the past 20 years in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

His experience spans asset strategy and management, network and plant operations, project delivery, consulting and engineering.

Julie McAvoy - General Manager Health and Safety

MSc, BEng(Hons)

Mrs McAvoy holds a Bachelor Mechanical Engineering Degree and a Master in Mechatronics.

During her 25 years’ experience, she has held a number of engineering, project management and leadership roles in the UK and New Zealand in heavy engineering and marine, including eight years with Rolls Royce Marine.

Since immigrating to New Zealand in 2009, Mrs McAvoy's experience has been in the oil and gas sector in Taranaki. She has worked for an integrated energy company and in engineering, procurement, construction contractors in operations, engineering leadership and quality, health, safety and environment roles.

Her experience ranges from engineering and project management, design for safety, lean six sigma, and quality, health, safety and environment management through to strategic planning and execution.

Brigitte Colombo – Chief Information Officer 

BSurv(Hons), BSc

As Chief Information Officer, Mrs Colombo is responsible for managing information and digital technologies for Powerco.

Mrs Colombo holds a Bachelor of Surveying, a Bachelor of Computer Science, and a Certificate in Management and Leadership. Before returning to New Zealand in 2014, she enjoyed an international IT career working across industry sectors in technology infrastructure and applications implementation roles, IT operations, business development, strategy and change management. She held executive positions in the United Kingdom and New Zealand and joined Powerco in 2017.


Karen Frew – General Manager Service Delivery and Systems Operations  

B Eng (Hons), CPEng, Dip FM Mgt

Mrs Frew leads Powerco’s Electricity Service Delivery and Operational Teams. She joined Powerco in 2002.

Mrs Frew holds an electrical engineering degree and diploma in management. She is a chartered engineer with 25 years’ experience in distribution, generation and large industrial sectors in New Zealand and UK. She has held leadership roles across Powerco in engineering, asset management, strategy, system project delivery, regulation and most recently service delivery and operations. She was the winner of the NZ energy awards young executive of the year in 2013.

Eric Pellicer - General Manager Business Development


Mr Pellicer joined Powerco in 2011, holding a number of roles across the organisation prior to being appointed General Manager Business Development in 2018.

Before joining Powerco, Mr Pellicer worked as a management consultant across several sectors including healthcare, insurance, technology and government in Canada and the US.

Mr Pellicer has a Bachelor of Arts in Economics. He is a board member at Drive Electric New Zealand.

Emma Bennett - General Manager Gas and People

BA, BSc(Hons), MBA 

Ms Bennett leads Powerco’s gas business and people function. She joined Powerco in 2019.

Ms Bennett has wide ranging experience in energy, manufacturing, pharmaceutical and tertiary education sectors.

Ms Bennett holds degrees in international business, organisational psychology and political studies, and is a committee member of the Institute of Directors.