Editor’s Letter

Magazines like Management are daily inundated with press releases and notices announcing the appointment of executives of every caste and competency. The modern manager lives by the dictum: onward and, hopefully, upward and so the tide of personnel change is generally full. We keep weather eye out for the more interesting moves, looking for the story behind the snippet. And so it was that Denise McNabb, journalist with an excellent editorial eye, picked up on recent announcement that Auckland-based former forest industry CEO, Elizabeth Coutts, had garnered yet another directorial appointment. “The woman’s everywhere, but hardly anyone’s heard of her,” said McNabb. Why, we asked?
What motivates successful executive to move from managing to governing? And why do some directors suddenly become hot boardroom property? To find some answers to these questions McNabb talked to the quiet achiever. Coutts, despite her relatively tender age and increasingly impressive list of directorships, seldom features on any public list of the nation’s most influential or successful women. She is, in fact, both of these. Our cover story this month provides some insight into the personality and the perspectives of New Zealand’s rapidly rising star of corporate performance.
The governance approach of New Zealand Post chairman, Ross Armstrong, stands in stark contrast to the quietly evolving career of Elizabeth Coutts. But irrespective of style Armstrong’s direction has much to do with our other success story this month, Transend’s Global Strategy.
Before the proverbial hit the mass media fan, first at Transend and then at its parent New Zealand Post, Wellington writer Nigel Coventry was compiling report on Transend for us. We were struck by the company’s apparent success as an international mail management and postal service consultancy. The suddenly breaking nature of the story made it difficult for Coventry to draw the threads together and sign it off for monthly magazine. But this month, finally, we publish his story which, despite the ongoing ructions and diverging commercial philosophies evident on the New Zealand Post board, outlines the management strategies that drive what is still very successful business venture.
New Zealand is short enough of international success stories of sufficient scope and scale to be truly meaningful to the economy. Hopefully this one survives the politics of the moment.

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