Interview: Meet the Port's new Chief Executive Officer

Since February, Roger Gray has been at the helm of the South Island’s largest Port, proudly leading a team of over 600 Cantabrians to keep our region moving.

The first few months of Roger’s tenure at Lyttelton Port have not been without challenge. In March the COVID-19 pandemic hit New Zealand, which saw the need to drastically change the way the Port operated to ensure the team could safely work.

As the Port slowly returns to a ‘new normal’ way of working, Roger says he has been impressed with the team’s approach to the challenges COVID-19 created.

“I know our team is resilient – they proved this during the earthquakes and they have proven this again during COVID-19. All our people continued working, despite the uncertainty, to support the South Island’s economy.”

Before joining LPC, Roger was Group General Manager Airports at Air New Zealand. In this role he managed all ground handling and lounge operations at 55 airports around the globe, covering 2,700 staff who handle 18 million passengers annually. Prior to this, Roger was Group General Manager Business Performance at Air New Zealand.

Roger also has experience as Managing Director – Australia for the Blue Star Print Group. He has also held several senior leadership roles with Goodman Fielder, including Managing Director of Quality Bakers – New Zealand and Supply Chain Director for Goodman Fielder Baking – Australia.

Born and raised in Australia, Roger has worked as a Logistician at the Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympics Games, and was also an officer in the Australian Army.

While the first three months of Roger’s time at LPC has been disrupted by COVID-19, he says through engagement with staff and unions, it has become clear LPC needs to focus improving workplace culture.

He says work has begun on developing a set of values and behaviours collaboratively with all staff at LPC, which will set the way forward as to how people are expected to act and behave, and what it means to be an employee of LPC.

Firmly focused on the future of the country’s third-largest Port, Roger is confident the team is up for the challenge.

“I’ve been spending a lot of time with our teams across the business – from the Container Terminal to Maintenance, CityDepot and MidlandPort in Rolleston. The LPC whanau is proud, committed, and ready for the future.

“We must ensure the Port is sustainable, remains the preferred choice for importers and exporters and delivers fit-for-purpose infrastructure for our people and customers.”

Strong engagement with the harbour community is also a focus for LPC, says Roger.

“I understand that the Port is part of a thriving local community. We will continue to work closely with our neighbours, and aim to operate in a way that respects the needs of those who live and work around us.”

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