Kathy Meads, a senior executive with more than 12 years’ management experience in the port industry, has been appointed to the Port Taranaki Board of Directors.
Mrs Meads, who lives in Christchurch and has worked as executive manager, chief financial officer, and corporate services manager at Lyttelton Port Company, joined the Port Taranaki board early in December as an independent director.
As well as commercial and financial experience that has spanned more than 30 years, including holding senior executive positions at Telecom/ConnecTel and Ngai Tahu Holdings Corporation, Mrs Meads also has extensive governance experience – she is currently a director of Enable Services Limited and chair of its Audit and Risk Committee, is on the Board of Shipowners Club (UK) and chair of its Audit and Risk Committee, and is a trustee of the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra.
During her time at Lyttelton Port, Mrs Meads led the team that settled the port’s insurance claim following the 2011 earthquake and then oversaw the port’s operations throughout the post-earthquake rebuild.
Since leaving Lyttelton Port in 2016, she has been an independent consultant, working with a range of clients, including Lyttelton Port.
Mrs Meads said she was looking forward to using her commercial, management and governance experience, disaster recovery experience, and valuable international shipping contacts, to continue Port Taranaki’s development.
“I’m delighted to be joining the Port Taranaki board and adding my knowledge and experience of the port industry to a company that is an important asset to Taranaki,” she said.
“I like the link the port has with the community through the Taranaki Regional Council as sole shareholder. I think that connection is very important, as it puts responsibility on the port to maximise its business to support the Taranaki region and economy,” she said.
“Port Taranaki is also adapting strategically to supply chain changes in the shipping industry and maintains an important position in New Zealand logistics, particularly through its key role in the oil and gas industry, and the burgeoning logging sector. I think it is on an exciting journey and I’m looking forward to playing a part in that.”
Mrs Meads becomes just the second female to ever be appointed to the Port Taranaki board, joining Charlotte Littlewood who is a Taranaki Regional Council-appointed board member.
“The port and shipping sector has been a male-dominated industry, but it is changing,” Mrs Meads said.
“I think the appointments of the likes of myself and Charlotte are acknowledgement that plenty of women have wide-ranging business and management experience and can be valuable assets to port companies, offering a different perspective on issues.”
Port Taranaki board chairman Peter Dryden welcomed Mrs Meads and said her financial expertise and experience of the ports and insurance industries would be valuable to the board.
“Kathy brings skills to the governance of Port Taranaki that are very relevant to today’s business and complement very well the skills of the current directors,” Mr Dryden said.
“Like most business sectors in New Zealand, the port industry is facing greater competition and complexity, so being innovative and flexible strategically is very important. Kathy will add skills to Port Taranaki in both of these areas.”
Mrs Meads’ husband Andrew is originally from Taranaki and his parents and siblings still live in the region. The couple have four children ranging in age from 14 to 24.