Leader, Chair and Corporate Strategy

Visionary Leader
Graeme Dingle

Graeme Dingle has many outstanding personal qualities but uppermost among them is his resolute determination. He accepts the setbacks and challenges life presents and refuses ever to be cowed by them. He is the consummate optimist, intensely curious about life and student of the way in which people play the game.

Dingle applies to life what he has learned on his various outdoor adventures and expeditions. They have taught him the reality that, life is 95 percent hard work and five percent joy. Life’s adventure is about the search for and the experiencing of the joys honest endeavour brings.

Dingle returned from the Arctic with his partner Jo-anne Wilkinson in the early 1990s. They visited many Arctic countries and returned to discover afresh just how much New Zealand had to offer. But he also discovered that as nation we were negative and despondent about the future and in particular, about the prospects for our youth. He decided to do something about it. And Project K was born.

Dingle wants to enhance the chances of teenagers succeeding in life. He wants to reduce the chance of their lives failing to deliver some of the joy. By providing an outdoor experience, one that New Zealand is perfectly positioned to deliver, Dingle planned to give kids the confidence to succeed. He and his team at Project K work to give young people the skills to live effective and rewarding lives. Using the outdoor experience, community challenge and the guiding hands of mentors they deliver our youth more certain personal future.

Dingle is driven by single-minded appreciation of the reality that our youth are our future, our leaders of tomorrow. He understands that we need to make life more hopeful for them if they are going to be effective as individuals and as leaders. We need our youth to help deliver better world.

Dingle has successfully taken his dream to the corporate world. In turn they trust him to deliver. Project K is full-time challenge but Dingle has proved his point and now private enterprise and the Government are listening. His work with Carter Holt Harvey has delivered two-way benefits with his Project K team helping the company train its employees as mentors – upskilling people not only to mentor the Project K youth but also to add value to the workplace. Graeme Dingle is in every sense Visionary Leader. man who inspires people, inspires confidence and who acts on his convictions and understanding of the importance of our youth.

Best Corporate Strategy Award
Tatua Co-operative Dairy Co

There is nothing milksop about Tatua’s attitude toward its relatively small size and ability to be an outstanding Top 200 enterprise. This company does it right. The strategy is simple. Specialise in manufacturing top quality products, invest heavily in research and development and technology and use capital efficiently. There are no low value lines in Tatua’s award-winning range of specialist milk products and the company knows the value of its brands. Its strategic commitment to branded products is central to its market success and is at the heart of the company’s ability to properly reward its small but loyal band of dairy farmer suppliers.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare

Fisher & Paykel, in its previous manifestations, has featured many times in these awards. Now judges are evaluating the component parts of the enterprise since Healthcare and Appliances went their separate ways. Taking the pulse of F&P’s Healthcare business shows the company’s strategic approach to business is just what the doctor ordered. The long-term strategy of manufacturing high quality, high tech and innovative healthcare products and selling them to the world market is successful. The company’s export strategy is well understood. Despite tough competition, revenue grew 10 percent and three quarters of it was earned offshore. Fisher & Paykel is still world-class corporate strategist, innovator and manufacturer.

The strategists at Powerco are switched-on bunch. They have implemented corporate strategy that has turned this New Plymouth-based power distributor into number two in the market and the nation’s largest gas distributor. Their strategic positioning of the company ensured that each time an opportunity arose to acquire another player it was able to do so. The strategy has been complemented by an outstandingly energetic management effort to successfully consolidate the central North Island distribution businesses abandoned by less successful, often offshore-based, owners. Powerco has successfully completed 10 mergers and acquisitions in the past decade and welded them into an energy business fully charged to deliver results.

QBE Insurance
Chairperson of the Year
Bill Falconer

What is there left to say about man who has twice before been named finalist in this award category. It is testimony to the high esteem in which Bill Falconer’s peers hold him that he has ranked among New Zealand top three chairpersons for three years in row. Falconer is chairman unafraid to tackle difficult issues, to stand up for high standards of corporate governance and to think independently. He has, said the judges, greatly advanced the knowledge and understanding of the need for and the practice of good governance. He is reformist who comprehends what is needed and who is willing to share his experiences and his wisdom.

Ian Farrant

Otago-based Ian Farrant has chaired the boards of some struggling and many successful enterprises over long period at the top of New Zealand’s commercial history. His analytical approach to governance and to the issues that success and failure bring to the board table mean his services as director and chairman are always in high demand. Farrant is equally at home directing organisational change as he is in guiding steady state growth and progress. He has just stepped down after 24 years as chairman of Fulton Hogan. There is no more fitting testimony to his legacy of governance leadership.

Keith Smith
Keith Smith is, ironically, chairman of some of New Zealand’s highest profile enterprises including The Warehouse and Tourism Holdings. He, on the other hand, is not high profile individual and that, in large measure, is why he is so highly regarded by his peers. Smith is the quiet, often unseen, but always effective and firm hand of governance leadership. The best chairs, the experts say, are unseen. They do not get in the way of chief executive and management team whose job it is to deliver the vision. Smith has high standards of professional performance, is balanced in his approach, fair and assertive when the occasion demands it.

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