Top 200 finalists announced

While SMEs have struggled to gather any sort of traction this year in flat economic environment, preliminary research undertaken for NZ Management’s annual December listing of New Zealand’s largest companies shows that our biggest businesses have generally fared better.

The companies that have performed well have focused on their costs and efficiencies and addressed any balance sheet issues early, says Neil Paviour Smith, managing director of Forsyth Barr and one of this year’s Top 200 awards judges. With some high profile exceptions, our large corporates have not been carrying the high levels of debt that were feature of the last big recession in the 1980s and early ’90s when it took longer for them to recover from the downturn, says Roger Kerr, director of Asia-Pacific Risk Management and another Top 200 judge. “Because most of our big companies haven’t been so highly geared this time around, they have been able to make decisions and cut their cloth to the environment much more quickly.”

Stronger leadership at board level has also helped, says third judge, Janine Smith, professional director and principal of governance advisors The Boardroom Practice. “Boards have become more involved in the new business environment that we are now operating in – without interfering with management. They are acting more like resource board and adding value in that respect.”

A feature of this year’s list of Top 200 award finalists is the appearance of private company Beca Group. Its engineering design and project management consultancy practice is one of New Zealand’s global success stories. Unlike public companies and New Zealand subsidiaries of multinationals, private companies are not legally required to file their financial accounts with the Companies Office. However, any private company prepared to provide set of audited accounts is eligible for inclusion in the Top 200 list and Beca has done so for the first time this year. It is up against two very strong performing listed public companies, Ebos Group and Ryman Healthcare, for this year’s Top 200 Company of the Year Award.

Finalists (listed in alphabetic order) for all of the awards are:

Deloitte/Management magazine Company of the Year
Beca Group
Ebos Group
Ryman Healthcare

Deloitte/Management magazine Executive of the Year
Alan Clarke, Abano Healthcare
John Fellet, Sky Network Television
Mark Waller, Ebos Group

QBE Chairperson of the Year
Sir John Anderson
Alison Paterson 
Henry van der Heyden

Marsh Most Improved Performance Award
Briscoe Group
Meridian Energy
Restaurant Brands

Workbase Best Growth Strategy
Ryman Healthcare
Sky Network Television

Kensington Swan Responsible Governance Award
ANZ Banking Group
NZ Aluminium Smelter
Vodafone New Zealand

NZIM/Eagle Technology Young Executive of the Year Award
Brendon McWilliam, Southern
Claire Szabo, Central 
Sharon McCook, Northern

The winners of these categories and an additional award – Designworks Visionary Leader – will be announced at gala awards dinner at Sky City’s Convention Centre in Auckland on Thursday December 2. Tickets to the event, which are selling fast, are available online at, by emailing Tania Vela or by phoning 09 845 5114.

The full list of New Zealand’s 200 largest companies plus the 30 biggest financial institutions will be in NZ Management’s December/January, available in early December

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