Channel Infrastructure’s announcement this morning that Manawa Energy’s general manager will be its new chief executive in 2023 was as much of a surprise to Manawa Energy as it was to the wider market.

The fuel infrastructure firm broke the news to the New Zealand stock market this morning when it revealed that Rob Buchanan, who is now the growth and trading general manager at Manawa Energy, will step into the shoes of current CEO Naomi James in early 2023.

James, who has been CEO since early 2020, will finish in the role after delivering the company’s 2022 full-year financial results.

In a brief statement to the stock exchange after Channel Infrastructure made its announcement, Manawa Energy CEO David Prentice said Buchanan’s resignation was a “surprise”, but it wouldn’t distract the energy retailer from pursuing its strategy.

“It is business as usual for Manawa,” he said. 

“We have an exciting chapter ahead as we pursue our asset enhancement programme and build out our pipeline of renewable generation development option[s].”

Buchanan said he was delighted to be joining Channel Infrastructure at what he described as “this important time” and was looking forward to diversifying the business through both NZ’s fuel security and the decarbonisation of the fuel supply chain.

“The opportunities for Channel Infrastructure to leverage its unique and highly strategic asset base as New Zealand navigates the energy transition are significant – and I’m really excited to be part of this,” he said.

Channel Infrastructure shares were up 0.7% to $1.47 in light trading when the market opened this morning.