3 Feb 2014

Transpower has new CEO

7:30 am on 3 February 2014

New Zealand's national power grid operator Transpower has a new chief executive, with Alison Andrews taking up the role.

Ms Andrews takes up the role on Monday, replacing Patrick Strange who had led the company for six years.

Since 2007 Dr Strange has overseen two huge multi-million dollar projects to improve the link between the North and South Islands and an upgrade of the North Island grid - as well as a fair few blackouts.

He says Transpower was not at all well known six years ago despite the fact it is a large company with about $1 billion of revenue. He says Transpower serves just about every New Zealander and is on 20,000 landowners' properties and is in every council.

Dr Strange says the company has been working to connect with the public and landowners in an open and honest way.

"We've got a long way to go but I would hope we've made that shift so now when someone hears the word Transpower, they know what we do, they know what we are and we have a personality."

Dr Strange describes the North Island Grid Upgrade Project which occurred under his watch as daunting, saying it was $800 million project, and it had to come to agreement with 313 landowners.

He says Transpower managed to get every landowner to sign an agreement, the line was built and it's running successfully.

Dr Strange says that's a credit to the Transpower team and contractors who worked on the project, but also to the landowners.

Patrick Strange is re-joining the board of Mighty River Power, where he served as a director prior to his role at Transpower. Transpower's new chief, Alison Andrews, starts on Monday.