Speakers for Downstream 2020 will be announced here.  In the meantime our 2019 speaking line up included:


Sabiene Heindl

The Energy Charter

Sabiene has legal and business qualifications with senior leadership experience in law, management, stakeholder and consumer engagement across government, industry and not-for-profit sectors in Australia and overseas. She has a “beyond business” Executive MBA from Brown University and IE Business School in Spain.

Sheridan Broadbent


Sheridan was the Chief Executive of lines company Counties Power, and is currently deputy chair of Kordia, a board member of Transpower, NZTA, Timberlands and is chair of smart meter analytics company Ampli.

Sheridan’s executive career has largely been in telecommunications, contracting and the IT sectors in NZ, Australia and the Pacific region, joining the energy sector in 2010 in an executive role with Genesis Energy. 

David Talbot


David is the CEO of UMR and heads the company’s political consultancy. As pollster to the Prime Minister he brings an unparalleled understanding of the New Zealand public mindset. His background in communications and campaigning means highly focussed strategic advice - frequently relied on by the country’s most influential decision-makers and businesses.

Dennis Barnes

Chief Executive Officer
Contact Energy

Dennis Barnes was appointed Chief Executive Officer in April 2011. Prior to joining Contact, he was General Manager Energy Risk Management at Origin, based in Sydney. Dennis started with Origin in 1998 and over that time has led sales, systems development, gas trading and generation operations departments. Dennis has guided Origin's significant and expanding operations in wholesale markets. Before that, Dennis worked in a number of positions operating in international energy markets, including managerial roles at Scottish and English electricity companies.

Hon James Shaw

Minister for Climate Change

James was appointed Green Party Co-leader in 2015, after being elected to Parliament as a list MP in 2014. Following the 2017 general election, James was appointed Minister of Climate Change, Minister of Statistics and Associate Minister of Finance.

James grew up in Wellington’s Aro Valley and before becoming an MP had a successful career in management consulting, primarily in London, where he worked with large multinationals developing sustainable business practices. He has a Master’s degree in sustainable development and business leadership.

Vince Hawksworth

Chief Executive

Our Chief Executive Vince joined Trustpower in 2010. Originally from the UK where he worked for British Coal, Vince moved to New Zealand with his family in 1993. Vince was Production Manager at Huntly Power Station before roles as General Manager Generation and General Manager Retail with Genesis Energy. Prior to joining Trustpower Vince was appointed CEO for Hydro Tasmania in 2006. Vince studied mining engineering at Trent Polytechnic in Nottingham, UK and has an MBA from Waikato University.

Alison Andrew

Chief Executive

Alison joined Transpower in 2014. She has held a number of senior executive roles across various industry sectors, most recently as Global Head of Chemicals for Orica PLC.  She is a Director for Port of Tauranga, and has been a Director for Genesis Energy.  

Prior to these roles, she held a number of senior roles at Fonterra Cooperative Group and across the Fletcher Challenge Group in Energy, Forests and Paper.  Alison has a MBA from Warwick University, and studied Engineering (Chemicals and Materials) at Auckland University.

Leonard Quong

Head of Research
Bloomberg New Energy Finance

Leonard Quong the Head of Research at BloombergNEF in Sydney where he leads a team of experts to examine the future of energy, transport and industry. Leonard joined BloombergNEF in 2013 where he has since published over 50 research papers covering technology, investment, economics and policy. He holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree with First Class Honours in photovoltaic and solar energy engineering from the University of New South Wales.

Greg Skelton

Chief Executive
Wellington Electricity

Greg has been CEO at Wellington Electricity Lines Limited (WELL) since 2009 and entered the industry in 1991 completing a variety of engineering and management roles across the distribution sector.

Greg has recently completed a transitional director role at UDL, on behalf of ENA and ERANZ and is currently a member of the Security and Reliability Council, which provides independent advice to the Electricity Authority with regard to reliability of supply, electricity system performance and system operation.

John Scott

Chiltern Power

John Scott is currently an independent consultant, based in the UK. He has 45 years experience of electricity distribution, transmission and regulation. His previous roles include Director of Engineering for National Grid, Technical Director for Ofgem, and Director Network Innovation for KEMA Consulting.

He takes a particular interest in innovation and sustainable energy systems, and factors critical to successful deployment of innovation on power systems.

Mike Underhill

Electra & Network Waitaki

Mike Underhill has extensive management experience in the gas and electricity sector in New Zealand and overseas. He was Chief Executive of EECA from 2007 to 2016. He has been Chief Executive of WEL Networks, TransAlta, and Energy Direct. currently a Director of Electra and Network Waitaki, he has also had significant governance experience in this sector, and has been chairman of Pacific Energy Ltd, EECA, and Katolyst, the Waikato Regional Development agency.

Phil Gibson

General Manager Hydro & Wholesale

Phil Gibson is responsible for managing Mercury’s renewable hydro power generation operations, as well as wholesale market activities and sales to large commercial and industrial customers. Phil has held a number of roles across the business including Wholesale Markets Manager, and Head of Technology & Innovation in Consumer Markets. Prior to joining the electricity industry, Phil spent six years in structural engineering roles in Auckland, Wellington and London.

Fiona Smith

GM Customer Operations

GM Customer Operations & 2018 winner of the Women in Energy Award.  Fiona joined Trustpower in 1995 and has thrived leading and motivating large multi-functional teams through significant change ensuring they are successful in a dynamic ever-changing competitive landscape. She also lends her time to mentoring women within the industry and driving the improved treatment of the sectors most vulnerable customers.

Neil Holdom

New Plymouth District Council

Neil was elected New Plymouth District Mayor in 2016. He has a background in strategic management, government relations, information technology, communications and public relations having worked for Independent News Limited, Fairfax and more recently Powerco. Neil is also the principal of TX1 Consulting, a management consultancy providing services to the regulated utility sector.

Simon Coates

Concept Consulting

Simon is a director at Concept Consulting.  He has advised governments, regulators, and industry participants on a wide range of issues ranging from market design, through to commercial and strategic advice. 

He also heads up Concept’s modelling and quantitative analysis group which provides market forecasting and bespoke analysis services to clients. 

Prior to joining Concept, Simon held a senior manager role at Contact Energy.

Richard Hale

Hale & Twomey

Richard’s legal background and the knowledge and multi-disciplinary skills acquired in the domestic and international oil industry gives him the foundation to consult to a wide range of clients in the energy sector. Richard’s specialist areas include the influence of international oil and gas markets on energy supply; the impact of energy efficiency and environmental policies on the energy sector; and the challenges facing major energy users around gas supply.

Gareth Hughes

Spokesperson for Energy and Resources
Green Party

Gareth is the Greens spokesperson for energy and resources, ICT, primary industries, commerce and consumer affairs, bio-security, food safety, tourism, animal welfare, technology & R&D and Wellington issues.
His professional background was at Greenpeace where he sailed on the Rainbow Warrior and coordinated New Zealand’s largest climate change campaign Sign On in 2009.
Gareth entered Parliament as the youngest MP in 2010 and is currently the longest-serving Green MP.

Jennifer Nolan

Director External Relations New Zealand
Pacific Aluminium

Jen Nolan joined Pacific Aluminium as Director External Relations (NZ) in 2014.  Jen is responsible for the corporate reputation of New Zealand’s Aluminium Smelter (NZAS) and of Pacific Aluminium in New Zealand. Her work incorporates government and regulatory affairs, internal and external communications including media management, oversight of NZAS’ community investment programme and membership of the executive committee of the Major Electricity Users’ Group (MEUG).

Eric Pellicer

Commercial Manager

Eric is the Commercial Manager at Powerco,  New Zealand’s second largest electricity utility. He leads the customer and commercial side of the electricity business and is focused on lifting the engagement with consumers and integration of new energy technologies into the grid. Eric is also accountable for Powerco’s Emerging Energy Consumers and Markets programme which is aimed at understanding what New Zealander’s are looking for from their distribution utility now and in the future.

Tony Oosten

Energy Manager

Tony a Canterbury University Chemical and Process Engineering has 13 years in the international Pulp and Paper industry working in New Zealand, Malaysia and Canada, and currently 10 years in the New Zealand Dairy industry working for Fonterra. Tony  brings to Fonterra a depth of experience on boiler operation, energy efficiency and renewable fuels as well as government advocacy.

Matt Bolton

General Manager – Profitable Growth
Contact Energy

Matt Joined Contact in 2009 and over that time he has held various senior roles across the organisation, most notably, the Head of Contact’s Rockgas business (which culminated in a sale to First Gas in August 2018), the Head of the Commercial and Industrial sales team and most recently the General Manager of Profitable Growth which is accountable for Marketing, Brand, Sales, Retention and Pricing for Contact’s Mass Market business.  Before coming to Contact Matt held a number of senior finance roles in both the UK and New Zealand.

Ray Hardy

General Manager Asset Management
Wellington Electricity

Ray has been the General Manager Asset Management since August 2015. Prior to his appointment as General Manager Asset Management, Ray held a number of senior asset and project management positions with Transpower including being Project Director of a five year project to replace the Market Systems.  This is Ray’s second tenure at Wellington electricity having worked as a distribution engineer and manager in the 1990s.  In total, Ray has 29 years of experience working in the electricity transmission and distribution industry.

Geoff Thorburn

Network Operations Manager
Wellington Electricity

Geoff has been Network Operations Manager at Wellington Electricity since October 2013.  He began his career with Hawke’s Bay Power in 1997 and has held a number of varied positions focused on both industrial automation and the Power distribution industry. In his position as Network Operations Manager Geoff’s key area of responsibility is to provide the lead in managing the Wellington Electricity Operational Control team.

Verdon Kelliher

Executive Vice President
Vault Intelligence

Verdon Kelliher is a professional business leader with over 28 years of senior management experience in New Zealand, Australia and Asia. His primary skills are new product and business development, sales leadership, business transformation and marketing. Verdon was raised on a high-country farm in Canterbury before taking up an apprenticeship with the P&T. Along the way he has had senior roles in Logical, IBM and Samsung, and is currently the Executive Vice President at Vault Intel.  Verdon lives in Auckland but spend most of my time working in Asia and Australia.

Stephen Jay

General Manager - Grid Development

Stephen currently holds the role of General Manager - Grid Development for Transpower, where he is accountable for the long term strategic plan and engineering of the transmission grid. 

Previous to this he held senior management roles in the power and investment banking industries, including technical design and consulting with Mitton ElectroNet and PB Power, asset management and maintenance at Meridian Energy, analysis and equities at Kleinwort Benson, and a variety of research, engineering, and operations within the nuclear arm of the CEGB.

Jonathan Kay

Lone Wolf Enterprises

An experienced energy sector leader/senior executive with past managerial experience at Vector, Unison, Mercury Energy and Landis & Gyr.  Jonathan now provides leadership for business undergoing significant transformation with a focus on value innovation, customer led change and commercialisation of new technologies and approaches.  

John Hancock

Signature Consulting

John Hancock is an independent consultant to utility companies and their suppliers, drawing on his valuable combination of deep experience in both technology and deregulation as key dimensions of the strategic environment in the sector. He has a 20 year career in the utilities industry including 14 years with Ernst & Young, Capgemini and Hewlett Packard (HP) in the Asia Pacific. John has worked with over 50 clients in the utility industry across 11 countries.

John Carnegie

Manager Energy, Environment & Infrastructure
Business NZ

John is a regulatory economist with over two decades’ experience in public policy and energy markets.
John has previously held roles at New Zealand Treasury, the Ministry for Economic Development, the electricity market operator (the Marketplace Company) and Genesis Energy.

John specialises in energy and climate change policy and its implications for business.