Snowy Hydro is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr Dennis Barnes as Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, effective 1 February 2023.

Chairman David Knox said the Board was delighted to appoint Mr Barnes to the role and is confident that he will continue to strengthen Snowy Hydro’s position as a leading integrated energy generator and retailer.

“We are thrilled to appoint someone of Dennis’ calibre and extensive energy sector experience to lead Snowy Hydro into the future,” Mr Knox said.

“Dennis has over three decades’ experience in the energy sector, with a focus on renewables and retail. His appointment brings a wealth of strategic knowledge and proven capability in delivering strong performance across large energy businesses at an exciting time for Snowy Hydro.”

Mr Barnes was most recently CEO of ASX/NZX-listed Contact Energy, guiding the company through a period of significant change, including the separation from Australian majority shareholder Origin Energy and the completion of a NZ$2billion investment programme encompassing renewable generation and enterprise-wide systems.

Prior to this, Mr Barnes also held several senior executive roles at Origin Energy, including as General Manager, Energy Risk Management and General Manager, Generation Operations; and he currently serves as a non-executive director of Tilt Renewables and Mercury NZ.

“I am excited about the prospect of working with the excellent team at Snowy Hydro, a truly iconic Australian business, at a complex and important time for our entire sector. I am also particularly looking forward to building strong connections with our stakeholders and the communities we serve and operate in, as we address the major issues our sector must focus on,” Mr Barnes said.

The appointment follows a comprehensive local and international executive search process. Roger Whitby, who has been Acting Chief Executive Officer since August will resume his role as Chief Operating Officer.

“I would like to acknowledge and thank Roger for his leadership, commitment and steady guidance during this period of transition for the company,” said Mr Knox.


Dennis Barnes – brief overview of career history

  • Current: Non-executive director of Mercury Energy NZ and Tilt Renewables.
  • 2011-2020: Chief Executive Officer of Contact Energy, a New Zealand-based electricity generator and retailer.
    • Completed a $2B investment program in renewable and flexible generation and enterprise-wide systems.
    • Successfully managed the change in ownership, including listing on the ASX.
    • Led significant turnaround and several major construction projects.
    • Optimised the asset portfolio, developing the best geothermal capability in New Zealand and highly innovative retail business.
  • 1998-2011: various senior executive roles at Origin Energy
  • Prior roles at Scottish Power, Scottish & Southern Energy and Norweb in the United Kingdom
  • Began his career as a Metallurgist with Alcan
  • Holds a BSc (Hons), GradDip (Marketing) and MBA.

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