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Friday, May 13, 2011

Orion chief refused company car

Orion chief refused company car

Last updated 13:50 12/05/2011
Roger Sutton was appointed head of the Canterbury lines company Orion in 2003.

Aged just 38 at the time, Sutton was commercial general manager at Orion, and won the top job from 38 other applicants.

The son of an Anglican clergyman from Hamilton, he was uncomfortable discussing his salary, believed then to be about $400,000.

In an interview at the time, Sutton said: "I'm not at all comfortable about the money thing. I accept my salary is going to make it into the papers once a year. I went into it with my eyes open."

He certainly had left-wing credentials.

He was a trustee on Community Energy Action, an Orion-backed initiative aimed at keeping low-income households warm, and admitted the electricity reforms haven't been kind to those at the bottom.

He was also well connected within Labour circles. Then Energy Minister Pete Hodgson actively sought Sutton's opinion on electricity issues and Wellington sources said he was well regarded within the corridors of power.

He is also well connected in Christchurch. He is married to former television journalist Jo Malcolm, sister of television star Robyn Malcom.

Sutton was hailed by an electricity insider at the time as an original thinker who was always pleasant to deal with and, crucially, who did what he said.

"He's the sort of person I would be happy to buy a used car off. I can't think of anyone who would have anything bad to say about him."

Sutton has turned down the obligatory company car, preferring to bike. "You don't have to get out of any suit. You bike home, you feel like you have left all of the issues, apart from the reading, behind."

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