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Fletcher Building takes top honours in Co. Awards

Thursday 27 November, 2003.

Fletcher Building: Company and Chief Executive take top honours in 2003 Company Awards.

Fletcher Building chief executive Ralph Waters has been named as the country’s top business leader for 2003 at the annual Deloitte/Management magazine Top 200 Awards.

He takes the title of Executive of the Year ahead of fellow finalists, Michael Daniell, chief executive of Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, and John Fellet, chief executive of Sky Television Network.

Judges Roger Kerr, Daphne Rawstorne and Jonathon Cimino, described Waters as the original Mr Fixit, who, in just two years, has transformed a grouping of enterprises with potential into a dream business. They described Waters as an astute strategist and business leader, unafraid to make the tough decisions and willing to recruit good managers, then give them their head to perform. His clever business acquisitions and sell-offs have in short-order reconstructed a tired, under-achieving enterprise into a high-performance company.

It is that performance that also sees Fletcher Building named as the Deloitte/Management magazine Company of the Year for 2003.

Judges say that by implementing an excellent change management strategy the company has been able to capitalise on a dramatic upturn in the construction and building supplies markets.
Management this year doubled the size of the business and simultaneously built profitability and shareholder equity. Judges consider this not just a face-lift for the company in a sympathetic market, but a re-piling that sets a solid foundation for the future.

Fletcher Building took the Company of the Year title ahead of other top-performing finalists, Cavalier Corporation and Fisher & Paykel Appliances.

Jim Syme has been named as the QBE Insurance Chairperson of the Year for 2003.
Currently chairman of companies as diverse as Waste Management, Eldercare – now Abano – and Software of Excellence, judges consider his focus on strategy and commitment to the highest standards of corporate governance make him an outstanding business leader. Committed to building board teams that deliver strong results, it is testimony to his skills that more often than not he is invited specifically to join a board as chairman rather than simply as a director.

Syme took the Chairperson of the Year Award ahead of fellow finalists, Wayne Boyd and Alison Paterson.

Dubbed “the father of New Zealand merchant banking”, Sir John Anderson has been named as the 2003 designworks Visionary Leader.

From a background in accounting and sharebroker, Sir John joined one of the country’s first merchant banks, South Pacific Merchant Finance in 1972, and seven years later was appointed a director and the Bank’s chief executive. In 1987 he masterminded the merger with National Bank of New Zealand and headed the combined operation. Today, he heads New Zealand’s largest banking group – ANZ – which little more than a month ago purchased the National Bank.

Judges for the Award say that for three decades Sir John has been New Zealand’s most constant and committed banker, prepared, alone if necessary, to foster and support industry sectors facing financial challenges. Judges consider Sir John a visionary and supportive leader, committed to his country and to its industry.

The Colliers International Best Growth Strategy Award in 2003 has been won by Vodafone.
Judges say smart technology has been combined with smart management and marketing to capture an ever-growing share of the New Zealand mobile phone market. It has effectively captured the teenage market and is now bringing its technology advantage to bear on the corporate sector. The company has delivered growth by concentrating on technology and service back-up, advantages that have enabled it to out-maneuver its competition.

Other finalists in the Award category were Ryman Healthcare and Sky Network Television.

Walker Wireless – now re-named Woosh Wireless – is the 2003 winner of the Deloitte Emerging Enterprise Award.

Despite some heavyweight competition, this company has emerged as one of New Zealand’s most promising hi-tech enterprises, pushing the communications advantages of broadband wireless technology. Since its formation in 1991, the company has attracted a raft of strategic partners, including Vodafone, and is now rolling out a national wireless communications network and working with government agencies on Project Probe, designed to provide regional broadband services to schools and communities in rural New Zealand.

The Company took the category Award ahead of Formway Furniture and Wellington Drive Technologies.

Just four years ago Solid Energy faced burn out. It was technically insolvent. But today it is one of the New Zealand Government’s hot properties and the winner of the Marsh Most Improved Performance Award for 2003.

This year, the state-owned enterprise has notched up a more than 20 percent increase in sales and boosted its profitability by 538 percent, all in the face of a falling currency market and falling coal prices. Judges say Solid Energy’s story of re-kindled success is the stuff of corporate case studies, and of turnaround management endeavour at its most impressive.

Solid Energy won the category award ahead of Hellaby Holdings and Zespri Group.

Energy retailer, Mercury Energy has won the Brookfields Business Ethics Award in 2003 for its environmental policies, organisation and management.

The company has attained significant financial, operational and environmental benefits from its investment in environmental management systems and planning, benefits that extend directly to its residential and business customer base by way of communications, energy efficiency initiatives, product and service improvements and environmental impact performance. Judges say the Company is walking the talk through its approach and making a difference by saving money and the environment.

Other finalists for the Business Ethics Award were Auckland International Airport for its stakeholder communications and Pumpkin Patch for its policies of social responsibility.

The NZIM Young Executive of the Year for 2003 is Mike Sang, group manager- finance for Airways Corporation.

Described by judges as an outstanding and effective young manager, able to drive complex projects to successful conclusions through strategic thinking and the application of expert planning, Sang was the Central region finalist for this Award.

The other finalists were David Barron, general manager CommArc Consulting, from the Southern region, and Martin Ellis, group general manager, Sleepyhead Manufacturing Co. and from the Northern region.

The Deloitte/ Management magazine Top 200 Awards are presented annually.
Judges for this year’s Awards were Jonathon Cimino, a company director and investment banker, Daphne Rawstorne, a chartered accountant and former managing partner, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Auckland and Wellington offices, and now a business consultant and company director, and Roger Kerr, a company adviser and a director and joint shareholder of Asia-Pacific Risk Management.


Ends…

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