The former managing director of Fulton Hogan, David
Faulkner, is Port Otago's new chairman.
Mr Faulkner, who was appointed to the board last December,
replaces John Gilks, who retired from the board in early
December after 22 years' service.
Mr Gilks joined the Port Otago board on its inception in
1988, and has been its chairman since 2001.
Before that, he was deputy chairman for 12 years.
Before the formation of Port Otago, Mr Gilks was appointed to
the Otago Harbour Board in 1987.
Born and raised in Dunedin, Mr Faulkner has a science degree
from Victoria University and a civil engineering degree from
the University of Canterbury.
For most of his professional life he has worked in the South
Island, before joining Fulton Hogan in 1986.
He was appointed managing director in 2001 and retired in
He was a non-executive director of the company until his
resignation, effective from today.
Mr Faulkner sits on the boards of Gough Holdings and
He said in an interview from his Nelson home that Port Otago
was at a crossroads, with pressure coming to accommodate
larger ships and the associated capital investment required
to widen the channel, for which resource consent has been
The day-to-day running of the port, securing those consents
and funding that capital investment would be Port Otago's
main focus, Mr Faulkner said.
A merger with the Lyttelton Port Company was off the agenda
for the foreseeable future, as the Canterbury company
rebuilds following September's earthquake.
Mr Faulkner said he brought skills of infrastructure
management and land development to Port Otago, which
complemented others on the board who have legal and financial
They were relevant skills, he said, given the proposed
channel widening and the company's extensive property
holdings through Chalmers Properties.
He paid tribute to Mr Gilks' 22 years on the board, saying he
had helped the port grow, comment which was reiterated by
Port Otago's owner, the Otago Regional Council.
Its chairman, Stephen Woodhead, said when Port Otago began
business, it handled 40,000 containers a year, had assets of
$33 million and debt of $13 million, giving the council
equity of $20 million.
Today it has assets of $400 million, equity of $275 million
and handles 220,000 containers a year.
Mr Woodhead said Mr Gilks had overseen the growth of the
container terminal and a container transport business, as
well as development of property investments through Chalmers
"His work has had a direct impact on improving prosperity
across Otago," Mr Woodhead said.