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Challenge produces exceptional business leaders

industry challenge produces exceptional business leaders

Heinz Wattie's brought together 12 finalists to compete in the national Heinz Wattie's Grocery Challenge yesterday, finishing with a gala dinner last night where MC Kate Hawkesby announced the two winners covering both the corporate and store levels.

The premium event in the supermarket industry's professional development calendar saw Steve Barnes of Progressive Enterprises Head Office Mangere, and Keith Whiteman of Foodtown Chartwell win the corporate and store sectors respectively.

This year's entrants all displayed a high degree of business acumen and leadership, illustrating the skill behind those who manage and run some of the country's biggest businesses. Steve and Keith stood out with their exceptional insight and talent.

"I was thrilled to have won the regional competition, but to have won the national as well is an absolute honour," says Steve. "The challenge tested my business and leadership abilities at every level and showed me what to focus on for further development."

Keith also found the challenge a great learning curve.

"The 12 finalists were all of exceptional calibre and I not only learnt a lot from the competition, but also from each of the competitors as we all have very business focussed objectives," says Keith.

Heinz Wattie's Managing Director, Nigel Comer, says, "The supermarket industry is the perfect vehicle for those who want to pursue high level careers in management and marketing. People often overlook that this is a multi-billion dollar industry offering numerous career options."

The Challenge is a perfect partnership for Heinz Wattie's and the supermarket industry. The largest competition of its kind in New Zealand, Wattie's is committed to helping young business leaders achieve their professional dreams. As New Zealand's number one brand, with more than 1200 Wattie's branded products and sales of $177 million (ACNeilsen May 2003) it is natural for the company to work with the supermarket sector, to encourage rising stars.

Steve and Keith will both receive $7500 toward a development course in Australia which they will attend at the end of 2004.

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