AS I SEE IT : Simon Wickham

What do you see as your key achievement in your current role?
The Trusts Stadium was in its infancy when I came on board. Transforming start-up operation with just dog show and school prize-giving to its name was great challenge. We’re now open 140 hours every week with more than half million visitors year. Unlike many event centres, our unique charitable trust ownership model generates profits to support our community, which is also using this facility every day.

What are the challenges of your new role?
The role requires managing the demands of commercial business that operates with community focus. Profits are generated and returned locally through charitable foundation so the challenge is ensuring The Trusts continues to generate the millions it has reinvested in the community to date ($85 million in the past eight years). Obviously in the current economic climate, that is real challenge.

How do you balance profit and community needs?
The Licensing Trusts have created clear structure to separate the charitable and commercial parts of the business. The Trusts’ commercial arm has solid commercial board and management focused on results, while ensuring that the pursuit of profits is tempered by social conscience. The Trusts Charitable Foundation helps ensure we remain connected to our local community groups and organisations to develop projects that benefit our community.

What does New Zealand need to grow as country?
We need ongoing confidence, courage and innovation to remain competitive and relevant to the rest of the world. New Zealand has created so many great leaders from whom we can draw inspiration, in business and wider fields such as sport and the arts. These leaders have taken on the world and come out on top.

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