On Friday the council finally announced three new board directors for Auckland Transport in a process that was delayed significantly due to the local body elections last year.
Former Finance Minister Sir Michael Cullen, Mary-Jane Daly and Kylie Clegg have been appointed to the board of the Auckland Council-controlled organisation Auckland Transport (AT).
The council’s Appointments and Performance Review Committee approved the appointments of the three new AT directors at its 29 March meeting following a rigorous and transparent selection process that sought directors with a high-level of political experience, solid financial acumen and significant experience in large and complex organisations.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff welcomed the new appointments: “Auckland Transport has a vital role to play in addressing the city’s major transport challenges caused by unprecedented population growth.
“I need a strong and effective board to ensure good governance and delivery of key performance indicators. All three members have governance and business experience. Between them, they bring the financial, legal and political skills we need on the board,” Mayor Goff said.
Here are the official profiles for the new members.
Sir Michael Cullen
Sir Michael Cullen entered Parliament in 1981 and was Finance Minister from 1999 to 2008 and Deputy Prime Minister to Helen Clark from 2002 to 2008. His achievements include the establishment of the New Zealand Superannuation Fund and the creation of KiwiSaver. He was deputy chair, and went on to become chair of New Zealand Post and a director of Kiwibank.
Mary-Jane Daly is Director of Cigna Insurance New Zealand Limited, a director of Kiwi Property Group Limited, Chair of the New Zealand Green Building Council, Deputy Chair of Airways Corporation and Deputy Chair of EQC.
Previously, Ms Daly served as Executive General Manager, and Chief Financial Officer at IAG New Zealand.
Before joining IAG, she spent four years with Fonterra as Group Treasurer and Risk Manager. She has also held positions at the Bank of New Zealand, National Australia Bank and Toronto-Dominion Bank in London.
Kylie Clegg is deputy chair of Waitematā District Health Board, board member of Hockey New Zealand and chairs the New Zealand Hockey Foundation. She is a double Olympian and former New Zealand Olympic hockey captain.
Ms Clegg has a corporate legal background, having specialised in mergers and acquisitions across a range of industries. Her previous governance experience has been as a board member of the New Zealand Olympic Committee and the Halberg Disability Sports Foundation and as a board observer on Auckland Transport.
It’s great to see some more women on the board. We’ve long wanted to see more diversity on the board and these appointments at least make a positive move in that direction.
Perhaps the most interesting appointment though is former Finance Minister Sir Michael Cullen. Although I recall he was initially skeptical about PT, Cullen was ultimately the Finance Minister that signed off on projects like double tracking of the Western Line, building the New Lynn rail trench – after he was dragged out to see the congestion caused by trains through the middle of the old roundabout, and of course the Northern Busway. He had also agreed to electrification before the current government were voted in. I wonder if as part of his new role he’ll now wish he had invested more in transport in Auckland at the time. The Herald suggests he could eventually become the Chairman after Lester Levy’s term ends.
Now that these new members are appointed it means the board can get on with what will likely be their most important decision of the year, finding a new CEO to replace David Warburton, who is due to leave at the end of the year. We strongly hope they will come from overseas (a kiwi or otherwise) and be someone who understands that we need to build our cities very differently to how they have been over the last 50 years. A Janette Sadik-Khan of Auckland if you will.
Additionally Greater Auckland’s own Patrick Reynolds starts as a member of Customer Focus Committee:
“The addition of Patrick Reynolds as a co-opted member of our Customer Focus Committee is also welcomed,” Dr Levy said.
“Mr Reynolds is a well-known transport commentator with an urban design background who was a candidate for one of the vacant director positions. He has a background which will bring an even greater emphasis to improving the customer experience across all modes,” Dr Levy said.
Patrick Reynolds adds:
This means I will now be putting my energy into making positive change from the inside so I will be pulling back from helping Matt and the team here. I will, of course, still be reading every word and relying on everyone here, post writers and commentators, to help me stay well informed about AT’s work from the customers’ perspective, but also about ideas for our city to best fulfil its potential.
Auckland is going through a period of accelerated and sustained change and decisions made in our public institutions now will have profound and lasting effects, it is really important that everyone who cares at all about this city gets as involved as possible at this time. That’s how great cities happen; because their citizens want them to be better. Periods of growth like the current one come with new pressures but they are also the best chance we have to make profound changes, especially to break previous patterns through new investments and brave experiments.
I also want to take this opportunity to thank everyone here, especially my colleagues on the team, but also everyone who bothers to comment, whether in agreement with our views or not. You have all helped hone my understanding of our little city in particular and of the great human invention that is the city everywhere.