Winner Sir John Anderson
John Anthony Anderson began his working life with Deloitte in Wellington in the early 1960s. At the turn of the decade he joined Melbourne sharebroking firm before returning to Wellington in 1972 to one of New Zealand’s first merchant banks, South Pacific Merchant Finance. He hasn’t been prised out of Wellington since. The city is, it seems, his kind of town.
In 1979 Anderson was appointed chief executive and director of South Pacific. In 1987, he masterminded the ‘merger’ with National Bank of New Zealand, and headed the new enterprise. Two years later he was both chief executive and director of the National Bank. In 1994 he was made Knight Commander of the Civil Division of the Order of the British Empire. Today Sir John is head of New Zealand’s largest bank – the ANZ – which, little more than month ago purchased the National Bank.
No one inside or outside banking circles was surprised by Sir John’s elevation to the top job. He is man of exceptional leadership ability. But it is perhaps his strategic thinking and unswerving commitment to New Zealand banking and business in general that this year’s Visionary Leader judges most wanted to acknowledge.
In their opinion Sir John has, for three decades, been New Zealand’s most constant and committed banker. He is the father of New Zealand merchant banking. He has also been prepared to stand alone, if necessary, as banker in support of industry sectors with financial challenges. Because he always took the long view and had the vision to see beyond the day, he committed the National Bank to supporting the kiwifruit industry and the meat industry when they fell on hard times. His commitment to New Zealand enterprise and good banking practice has been absolute and resolute, which at times has not endeared him to policymakers.
Sir John Anderson is, in the opinion of the judges, visionary and supportive leader committed to New Zealand, to its industry, to its sporting interests – particularly cricket – and to its arts, culture and community interests. Sir John is New Zealander through and through. man of integrity, acute business acumen, conviction and foresight.
Employment firm Seek recently launched bilingual search technology allowing job seekers to search the platform in either English or te reo Māori. By Meeral Gulabdas. Genuine representation and diversity of