Spark has made its first appointment under the Future Directors Programme, founded by Sir Stephen Tindall, Michael Stiassny and Des Hunt in 2013 with the aim of developing the next generation of directors and ensuring the director pool would be large enough to support New Zealand's economic growth.
The programme aims to give young talented people the opportunity to observe and participate on a company board for a year while giving the company exposure to their talents and the benefits a young mind can bring.
Under the programme chosen future directors attend all board meetings of the host company but have no voting rights and are not involved in decision making.
In June 2016 the programme was extended to state sector boards allowing public sector boards and committees to benefit from the programme, as well as develop a larger and more diverse pipeline.
The programme’s web site shows Spark’s participation as being in progress since 2016.
Spark’s first ‘future director’ is Nagaja Sanatkumar, general manager of global eCommerce at New Zealand clothing retailer Icebreaker where she is responsible for the digital marketing and operations of the ecommerce channel.
According to Spark she has an extensive background in technology and marketing with a focus on digital and ecommerce customer experiences. She holds an MBA from the University of Washington.
Spark chairman Mark Verbiest said, "Nagaja has wide digital consumer experience at a senior level, including at Amazon and Expedia. … I believe we will benefit from her experience in retail, digital and customer experience, as much as we hope she will benefit from the experience of sitting on the board of New Zealand’s largest digital services company."