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Award-winning, global CEO and founding Chief Executive of Z Energy


Award-winning CEO, Mike Bennett’s global career has enabled him to know a little about a lot. In that sense, Mike has unusually broad experience across all organisational capabilities, enabling him to be an effective CEO for the past twenty years.

Since March 2023, Mike has been the principal at Taumata Advisory Limited, a company committed to realising individual and organisational potential. Mike delivers on this as an author (book to be published by the end of 2023), conference speaker, executive coach, and business consultant.

Prior to that, Mike was the founding Chief Executive of Z Energy Ltd, the company that purchased Shell's downstream (refining and marketing) business in New Zealand in April 2010 and Chevron in June 2016. As a result of an IPO in August 2013, Z was listed on the ASX and NZX and then delisted in 2022 when Ampol purchased the company.

Mike has accumulated forty years of experience in the global energy industry with expertise in supply, trading and marketing businesses covering consumer and business-to-business segments. In 1983 he joined BP in New Zealand with his early roles in sales, marketing, IT and finance. From 1992 to 2008, he served in various senior leadership roles in South Africa, China, Singapore and in the United Kingdom (at BP’s global headquarters).

Since 1992, Mike has served as a Director of various private and public companies and joint ventures in NZ, Singapore, China and South Africa. Upon his return to NZ in 2009, he became a chartered member of the NZ Institute of Directors and is the Chair (since 2016) of Punakaiki Fund Limited, a $100m investment fund that makes long-term investments into high-growth, revenue-generating New Zealand technology companies.

In 2016 Mike was awarded CEO of the Year within the Deloitte Top 200, with Z also being recognised as Company of the Year.

For over a decade, Mike has been in the middle of the energy transition and the consequential environmental and social sustainability challenges. From this, he has developed extensive networks and unique perspectives to inform strategy development and corporate communications.

In 2017 Mike co-founded the Climate Leaders Coalition and was the Convenor of their Steering Group until 2022.

Talking Points

Transformational Change That Endures

All business leaders are after the holy grail of transformational change in a VUCA or BAMI world. While plenty of transformation initiatives are being deployed, many fail to meet the business case goals, and almost all fail to sustain the results beyond the first year that justified the original investment. This manifests as frustrated executives, overworked managers and change-fatigued employees. However, there are simple models and leadership practices for designing and delivering transformational change that endures. This session shares the practical steps that any business leader can adopt and see benefits from within just a few months.

Sustaining Extraordinary Performance

When leaders play ordinary, the organisation can only play ordinary. When leaders play extraordinary, the organisation can transform. Most importantly, the organisation doesn’t change until the leaders do. ?It takes courage to be extraordinary because to be extraordinary, you need to confront where you are being ordinary. There are mindsets and practices that enable a more regular and reliable delivery of extraordinary performance. This session provides actionable insights into what it takes to sustain extraordinary performance and realise both individual and organisational potential.

Chiefing the Tribe

In a world that is becoming more complex and demanding for business leaders, we seem to have forgotten that we are leading our people as well as managing our business. Developing and leading high-performance teams does not need to be that complex and demanding, but it does require the capability to blend strategy and culture to deliver results beyond the predictable. This session shares experiences and insights from two decades of leading diverse teams in challenging circumstances where the results were clearly beyond the predictable.
Boma ran an Impact Session with Mike titled Climate Change Activism from a Fossil Fuel CEO. He was simply fantastic: prepared, engaging, honest. He spoke openly about what he was able to achieve and where he fell short of his ambitions. His vulnerability allowed us to connect powerfully with what he was saying and to see possibility for ourselves in his journey. I recommend him wholeheartedly; his is a voice worth amplifying. Boma Global
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