Michael Stiassny to step down as Vector chairman

Michael Stiassny says he hasn't been asked to stand down but will leave anyway.

LATEST: Stiassny ouster follows jockeying at C&R

Vector chairman Michael Stiassny says he will step down from the board of the Auckland utility company in September after losing the support of its majority shareholder, Entrust.

In a written statement, Mr Stiassny said in response to media speculation about his tenure as chairman, that he had always served with the full support of the major shareholder.

He says he hasn’t been asked to step down.

“However, it appears that I no longer have the support of the Entrust trustees, in which case I will not seek re-election later this year,” he said.

He would make no further comment. He joined the Vector board in 2002.

Mr Stiassny is also chairman of Tower and a director of a large number of other entities, including Queenstown Airport and Ngati Whatua Orakei Whai Rawa.

Entrust, formerly called the Auckland Energy Consumer Trust, owns 75.1% of Vector.

Chairman William Cairns says a decision was made at an Entrust meeting this week not to support Mr Stiassny's re-election at the September annual general meeting. It then advised the chairman and Vector board of the decision but has not publicly said why it made that call.

He says the trust acknowledges "the dedication and significant contribution" Mr  Stiassny has made to Vector during his time as chairman.

"Mr Stiassny has led Vector’s diversification and growth strategy, with the result that Vector is in a strong position today," he said in a written statement.

The trust was set up in 1993 under electricity market reforms and serves 350,000 households and businesses in the Auckland area.

It paid out $80m in dividends to residents in the former Auckland Power Board area for the 2017 financial year on $211m of net profit, with dividends totalling $1.7 billion in the 20 years since its creation.

Mr Stiassney, who holds 65,793 shares in the listed company, earns $201,300 annually as chairman.

He has set himself up as a consultant and company adviser after resigning from insolvency firm KordaMentha late last year.

At the time he said he had left the insolvency arena after nearly 30 years because he had “moved on to other things” including corporate governance.

That included acting as a negotiator for the government and Auckland Council for the America’s Cup.

“I’m doing things where I can make a difference,” he said. “I want to be able to do work for good reasons.”


14 · Got a question about this story? Leave it in Comments & Questions below.


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14 Comments & Questions

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Do Entrust support the rest of the Board and management team?

Possibly a red flag for minority shareholders here....

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Hi we're chasing down the why it happened on this story - so stay tuned. So far Entrust has just issued a statement and is not yet talking to us.

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Look at Tower too

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Hear hear, time for him to leave TOWER

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Fantastic News! Finally someone in Vector has stood up to him! The most meddling non-executive chair that has been. Hopefully this will allow someone to start questioning his crusades funded by Vector.

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Agree, good to see such a very public vote of no confidence. Hopefully the shareholders and directors in the other companies where he is on the bludge will follow suit and turf him out. He is a menace to shareholder value and the antithesis of good governance.

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Look at Enrtust as well - they have been shaky over the years

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Spot on. But it will be hard as they (entrust) garner support from their "users", using their users own money.

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Sadly far too many NZX directors out stay their use by date. IMHO after 3 by 3 year terms unless there are exceptional circumstances a director should have given their all to the Board and the company and need to move on to allow for renewal and fresh ideas.
Board Charters should have such a provision that require a director retires unless he/she can convince a super majority of the Board say 75% that they should be supported for re-election.

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You might also want to ask why NZ Windfarms languished for years while Mr Stiassny was a director. Then after the board was cleared out we got some directors who knew how to make it work, the farm started turning a profit, they cleared up a substantial muddle and we all got a dividend!!

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After 10 years, any senior executive or Board member should be seriously looking to move on. That is both good for the individual and the company. Ater 16 years on the Board, it's time he went whether or not he had the confidence of the majority of the shareholders.

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Good riddance, someone who seriously over-estimates his value & capability

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Abusing banks powers as a liquidator
Long nasty history which current play out brings so much glee to others

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The comments here are a measure of the man. He has never built anything, merely torn down. Never been a CEO bit seen fit to judge plenty and attack on personal grounds. Plenty of good organisations and shareholder wallets bear his scars.

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