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New director appointed who particpiated in the Mentoring for Diversity programme

Jul 26 2012

The Southland Times.

The H & J Smith group has appointed lawyer Giselle Anne McLachlan as a new director on its board.

H & J Smith managing director Acton Smith said Ms McLachlan was appointed as an independent director and described her as an outstanding individual.

As one of two independent directors, she would bring a balance to the board, which was important for any family-run business, Mr Smith said.

"It is important for any board to be able to provide a measure of oversight to maintain an effective team."

Mr Smith said Ms McLachlan had an interesting background that included being a director at the Institute of Financial Advisers for two years.

He said her experience during her career would add to the existing board, bringing good governance and skill. "She is a trained lawyer and solicitor, a commissioner at the Earthquake Commission and runs her own management consulting business, Clear Counsel Ltd".

Ms McLachlan moved from her corporate base in the North Island to Southland and was part owner at Marama Organics Ltd in South Otago, he said.

Mr Smith believed more confident women should be added to boards of directors in the country and now H & J Smith had equal gender split.

"It is marvellous to have another woman on the board."

Ms McLachlan said she moved to the region 18 months ago for personal reasons but she wanted to make a professional contribution to the region.

She met Mr Smith through the Institute of Directors and they developed a professional relationship, seeing eye to eye on a lot of things, she said.

"It's more than earning money, I hope that I can make a difference. I was keen to get involved in local business and was privileged to have the opportunity to be part of a family run business like H & J Smith, " she said.

She hoped her new position on the board would help her learn more about the region and connect with businesses in the area.

Ms McLachlan has also been chairwoman at the New Zealand Gynaecological Cancer Foundation, general counsel and head of corporate resources at IAG New Zealand Ltd, partner at Phillips Fox and senior associate at Barlow Lyde and Gilbert solicitors.