Port Otago names former Fulton Hogan head chairman

Dave Faulkner
Dave Faulkner
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 2009.

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 Brightwater Engineering.

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 sought.

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 backgrounds.

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 Properties.

"His work has had a direct impact on improving prosperity across Otago," Mr Woodhead said.


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