Channel Infrastructure announces change in Chief Executive Officer

Posted on:
Posted in: Media Releases

Channel Infrastructure (CHI) has today announced a change in Chief Executive Officer, with Rob Buchanan appointed to succeed Naomi James in 2023.

The Chair of Channel Infrastructure, James Miller said “Naomi was appointed at the start of 2020 to reset the business on a path to deliver sustainable returns to shareholders. Having successfully completed the extremely challenging and complex job to transition from Refining NZ to Channel Infrastructure, now is the right time to begin the transition from Naomi’s transformation-focused leadership to a CEO with deep experience in the energy and infrastructure sector who will take the new business forward and deliver further shareholder value from our infrastructure and the growth opportunities that come with it.”

Mr Miller said “Rob Buchanan has been appointed by the Board of Directors as Channel Infrastructure’s new Chief Executive, with the transition set to take place in the first quarter of 2023. Rob is currently General Manager of Growth and Trading at Manawa Energy. In his previous role, Rob was head of Mergers and Acquisitions at Forsyth Barr where he was a well-respected strategic advisor to boards in the Utility and Energy sectors. Rob’s extensive experience and leadership style is ideal to continue Channel Infrastructure’s journey to become a world class operator of terminal and pipeline assets, and position the company to prosper in a decarbonising world.”

Incoming Channel Infrastructure Chief Executive Rob Buchanan said “I am delighted to be joining Channel Infrastructure at this important time and look forward to leading the team as we diversify the business, supporting both New Zealand’s fuel security and the decarbonisation of the fuel supply chain. The opportunities for Channel Infrastructure to leverage its unique and highly strategic asset base as New Zealand navigates the energy transition are significant – and I’m really excited to be part of this.”

James Miller said “Naomi’s leadership during the most difficult time in the company’s history was nothing short of first class. I join the entire Board in thanking Naomi for her dedication, perseverance, and leadership of the company over the past three years. Naomi joined us at a time of immense uncertainty for the business. With her leadership, the company undertook a comprehensive strategic review to determine a long-term sustainable business model, and the subsequent successful delivery of the transformation to Channel Infrastructure. Naomi leaves us with a long-term sustainable business model in place, a range of exciting growth opportunities ahead, and a talented and committed team at Marsden Point.”
Outgoing CEO Naomi James commented “It has been a privilege to lead our team through such a major transformation. I am incredibly proud that we successfully completed this change safely and to plan, securing the support of our customers, lenders and shareholders, supporting our workforce and the Northland community through significant changes, and all without disruption to New Zealand’s fuel supply. This couldn’t have happened without the highly capable and dedicated team at Marsden Point, and it has been an honour to work alongside some of the very best in the industry.”

Naomi James added:
“My focus for the coming months remains on leading our great team, delivering on our plan, and making the most of the growth opportunities ahead of us. Last week, the Government made some major policy announcements in the fuels sector, and we will be working hard to make sure that Channel is well positioned to make the most of these opportunities to support New Zealand’s fuel security and decarbonisation ambitions. We are currently assessing some exciting options for the future supply of electricity to our site, and we look forward to making an update on this in due course. And only two weeks ago, we announced the next phase of our joint Green Hydrogen study with FFI, so there is lots happening at Marsden Point, and that remains my focus for the remainder of my time with the company.”

No start date for Rob has been finalised, however it is expected that he will start in the first quarter of 2023. Naomi James will finish after delivering the FY22 Financial Results and a handover period with Rob Buchanan.

Summary of Rob Buchanan’s business experience

Rob is currently GM Growth & Trading at Manawa Energy, New Zealand’s largest independent renewable electricity owner and developer, where as part of the executive leadership team he has responsibility for the company’s renewables development, energy trading and commercial and industrial sales functions. With a passion for helping energy and infrastructure companies create value while navigating challenging strategic issues and changing industry dynamics, prior to Manawa Energy Rob had an almost 20 year career in investment banking, advising companies in New Zealand, Australia and Europe most recently as Head of Mergers & Acquisitions at Forsyth Barr in New Zealand. Prior to this Rob worked in the investment banking business of ABN AMRO Bank working across Australasia and Europe.

Rob holds a Bachelor of Commerce and Master of Business (with distinction) from the University of Otago, and has completed an Executive Certificate in Management and Leadership from the MIT Sloan school of business.

Rob grew up in Palmerston North and now resides in Auckland with his wife Jo and two school-age children. In his spare time, he is a keen mountain-biker, skier and water-sports enthusiast.


Channel Infrastructure announces change in Chief Executive Officer