Media release

ORC acknowledges former Port Otago chief executive's service

Wednesday 13 September 2017

The Otago Regional Council today acknowledged the long and dedicated service of Geoff Plunket, who retired recently as chief executive of Port Otago Group.

The acknowledgment coincided with the port company’s presentation to ORC councillors of its annual report. ORC owns 100 percent of the shares in the group on behalf of the people of Otago.

The group achieved a $38.7 million tax-paid profit for 2017 - the result of strong port operations revenue growth and sales of three hectares of land from the Te Rapa Gateway development in Hamilton. This compares to the previous year’s tax-paid profit of $34.1 million, up 13%.

ORC chairman Stephen Woodhead said: “Geoff had a long history with the port company spanning 29 years. He started as an accountant, and has been the chief executive for the last 13 years. Port Otago’s strong financial position as outlined to us today, is due in no small measure to his quiet and efficient stewardship over many years.”

During Mr Plunket’s tenure as CEO, the company has increased in size from total assets of $160 million and shareholder equity of $111 million in 2004, to $534 million in total assets and shareholder equity of $432 million upon his retirement.

ORC finance and corporate committee chairman Cr Doug Brown said: “Port Otago has always been an industry leader in New Zealand, with the deepening of the Otago Harbour to 14 metres being among the first such developments in New Zealand. This has allowed larger container vessels to enter the port, and ships taking on cargo further up the coast to be topped up at Port Chalmers.”

In line with the channel and berth deepening work, cargo capacity has previously been increased through expanding warehousing at Back Beach and Sawyers Bay, Cr Brown said

“Geoff has ensured Port Otago is well positioned to handle growth in freight volumes,” he said. 

Mr Woodhead said Mr Plunket had left the company in good heart, and paved the way for a smooth transition to his successor, Kevin Winders, taking up the leadership reins.