Deloitte/Management magazine Executive of the Year: Don Braid

A repeat performance doesn’t happen often. But then, executives of Braid’s calibre don’t surface all that often either.

This year’s judges describe Braid as an outstanding leader who understands his customers, people and business.

“He continues to deliver on the company’s ambitious global expansion plans,” they say.

“But while he grows the business, he remains true to his principles and Mainfreight’s belief in the importance of its employees and the environment in which we live.”

Braid has been with the business since 1994 when Mainfreight purchased Daily Freightways. He had worked there for the previous 16 years.

He has faithfully implemented the board’s long-range strategy to become the best in its business, in New Zealand and elsewhere in the world where it sets up office.

He has helped take the company from Australasia to Asia, the United States and more recently Europe.

He sees Mainfreight’s “100 year vision” as cornerstone for developing global growth and trust in his company. “In Asia they identify with [the 100 year] vision immediately,” he said earlier this year.

Braid exemplifies Mainfreight’s “egalitarian” but simultaneously performance-based values. Like most of the company’s owners and directors, he is proudly Kiwi. He wants to keep the company that way.

He believes in Mainfreight’s disciplines of promoting from within and using graduate recruitment programme as the first step towards staff moving from the floor to other roles in the business.

There are no private offices at Mainfreight. “And no car park with my name on it,” he said earlier this year.

Braid is forthright, open, dedicated to Mainfreight and all its stakeholders – particularly its employees and customers.

He is an honest leader who cares for his company, communities and the country.

FINALISTS: • Nigel Morrison, Managing director & CEO, SkyCity Entertainment Group • John Williamson, CEO, Hellaby Holdings
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