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Inaugural Veuve Clicquot Award Winner

11 April 2008

Entertainment Entrepreneur Announced As Winner of New Zealand's Inaugural Veuve Clicquot Award

The entertainment entrepreneur, Julie Christie, was today announced as the inaugural New Zealand recipient of the prestigious global Veuve Clicquot Award. The Award commemorates Madame Clicquot, who was arguably the world's first woman entrepreneur.

The winner was announced at a luncheon in Auckland, attended by some of New Zealand's most successful business leaders.

David Ridley, General Manager of Veuve Clicquot's local subsidiary, said "Madame Clicquot was a risk taker, an innovator and an optimist. She was daring, tenacious, resilient and unconventional. These are the qualities the Veuve Clicquot Award recognises and celebrates, and which Julie Christie clearly possesses in abundance. The judging panel believes Julie Christie is a fitting winner of the inaugural New Zealand Award."

Mr Ridley said that they were delighted that the award had attracted a significant number of nominations from throughout New Zealand in its inaugural year.

"The calibre of all the nominations we received was extremely high and with so many of the candidates demonstrating Madame Clicquot's qualities, the judging process was very difficult. However, at the end of the day we felt Julie's entrepreneurship and tenaciousness singled her out. Through her persistence and hard work, she showed that through recognising the value of intellectual property, New Zealand can move from being just a creative incubator to a successful player in the global market," Mr Ridley said.

As New Zealand winner of The Veuve Clicquot Award 2008, Ms Christie will fly to Reims, France, in October to join past and present laureates from other countries at the annual Veuve Clicquot Businesswomen's Meeting, where a vine will be christened in her name. She will also receive La Grande Dame champagne, the company's prestige cuvée release, every year on Madame Clicquot's birthday.

The Veuve Clicquot Award for businesswomen was launched in France in 1972 to commemorate the extraordinary qualities of Madame Clicquot. The recipient must display entrepreneurial drive; leadership skills; an ability to motivate and inspire others; to meet challenges, take risks and overcome obstacles to achieve success; with experience in managing a profitable company or organisation that has shown consistent financial success; a woman with charisma, individuality, style and tenacity. Today the award is presented in 18 countries including New Zealand.

The New Zealand judging panel comprises Rosanne Meo OBE, Chairman of Briscoe Group Limited, Chairman of AMP New Zealand and Deputy Chair of Baycorp Advantage; Sally Synnott, founder of Pumpkin Patch; Catherine Savage, CEO of CMS Capital Ltd - an investment company specializing in private equity; Brenda Ward, Editor of Next magazine; and on behalf of Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin, David Ridley.


Further information can be found at

About Veuve Clicquot

Madame Clicquot (1777-1866) was arguably the world's first female entrepreneur. Born Nicole-Barbe Ponsardin, she married François Clicquot. Widowed at the age of 27, she took control of her husband's champagne business, building it to the international champagne house we know today, Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin.

For six decades she inspired, innovated and remained true to her vision, her character and the integrity of her product. She became known as 'la grande dame de la Champagne', defying anyone who said 'you can't' and every obstacle that threatened, including the Napoleonic trade blockade.

Her motto 'only one quality, the finest' remains the standard of the world-famous champagne house. Madame Clicquot was clever, bold, dynamic, imaginative and adventurous. She was a respected leader, an astute businesswomen and a risk-taker. In an era when Europe was torn by war, she fought to ship her wines throughout the world - including to Russia, in defiance of the Napoleonic trade blockade - and her champagne toasted celebrations in all the great courts of Europe.

She bought parcels in the best vineyards; fought actively against counterfeiters and invented the 'table de remuage' - intrinsic to the riddling process that leaves champagne so brilliantly clear, subsequently adopted by all other champagne houses and still used today. She was a loving and generous mother who placed great importance on achieving balance between her work and her personal life. Madame Clicquot "never left Reims, but she conquered the world". La Veuve (the widow) died in 1866 aged 89, but remains an inspiration and role model to women around the world.

About Julie Christie

Originally from Greymouth, Julie Christie began her career as a newspaper journalist, moving into television production during the late 1980s. She worked as a researcher and producer at Communicado, before setting up her own company, Touchdown Productions in 1991. With offices in Auckland, Sydney, Fiji and Los Angeles, Touchdown became New Zealand's largest producer of lifestyle, factual, entertainment, and unscripted television.

In the early days of Touchdown, Christie often worked as the writer, director and producer for many of the programmes and had a fierce reputation for maintaining a gruelling work schedule. Ironically, two key setbacks gave Christie the determination to change her business practices, decisions that later turned Touchdown into a multi-million dollar company. In 1994, after TVNZ decided to move the shows Touchdown had previously produced in-house, Christie realised the importance of owning the intellectual property of her product. The second key decision, to create a business that would never rely on public funding, was made following the experience of pitching Colonial House to NZ On Air. Her business mantra "television is a business, not an art" has given her longevity and commercial success in an industry where many have struggled to sustain a profit.

In 2001, the company began to export its programme formats offshore. The most successful of these television formats included "The Chair", "Whose House Is It Anyway" and "Treasure Island". Programme formats were sold or franchised to 29 countries including the United States, United Kingdom, France, and Germany.

In 2006, Ms Christie sold the business to Dutch media group, Eyeworks but remains as CEO. The company has now expanded into drama and film. Ms Christie also has significant outside business interests including pay TV channels, The Living Channel and Food Television.

About the Veuve Clicquot Award Judges

Roseanne Meo
OBE, Women's Suffrage Medal. BA, Dip BIA

Rosanne Meo is Chairman of Briscoe Group Limited, Chairman of AMP New Zealand and Deputy Chair of Baycorp Advantage. She is a director of Ports of Auckland, Overland Footwear Limited and the Bancorp Advisory Board and a Trustee of the Liggins Institute. She is the President of the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra and actively involved in a number of not-for-profit organisations.

Roseanne was formerly Chairman of the AMP NZ Advisory Board, Television New Zealand, Forestry Corporation of New Zealand and the New Zealand Employee's Federation, previously a director of Sky Television, member of the New Zealand Roundtable and a trustee of Arts Foundation of New Zealand.

David Ridley, General Manager of Moët Hennessy NZ

David moved to New Zealand in 2005 to establish Moët Hennessy New Zealand. The Moët Hennessy portfolio of luxury brands includes Moët & Chandon, Dom Pérignon, Veuve Clicquot, Krug and Ruinart champagnes; leading premium sparkling wines, Chandon and Pelorus; the still wines of Cloudy Bay, Cape Mentelle and Green Point; as well as Hennessy cognacs, Belvedere vodka, 10Cane Rum, and Glenmorangie single malt and Ardbeg Islay whiskies.

David joined the Moët Hennessy group as the Marketing Manager for Domaine Chandon, in the Yarra Valley. When Moët Hennessy established its own Australian distribution company in May 2003, David relocated to Sydney to take up the role of Senior Marketing Manager for Veuve Clicquot, Krug, Chandon, Cloudy Bay and Cape Mentelle brands. Prior to this David worked for BOC Gases and SAAB Automobile.

David also holds a Bachelor of Business, Bachelor of Computing and Masters of Business Administration from Melbourne's Monash University.

Catherine Savage
BCA (Acctg, Mktg, Finance), CA Managing Director, AMP Capital Investors (New Zealand) Limited

When Catherine Savage was appointed AMP Capital Investors' managing director at the tender age of 33, she became the global company's youngest, and only female, country manager. Five years later, that only-female mantle remains for the mother of three who splits her working days between Wellington, Auckland and Sydney. Savage graduated from Victoria University with an accounting degree but quickly realised she "never wanted to be an accountant". After managing the Natural Gas Corporation's treasury she began her tenure at fund manager AMP, where she was head of client relationships, before taking on the managing director role. In March 2007, Catherine resigned from AMP Capital to set up her own private equity company, CMS Capital.

Catherine is also a supporter of the YWCA Future Leaders Programme and a member of the NZ Institute.

Sally Synnott

Sally Synnott is the founder of Pumpkin Patch. She started the company in 1990 at the age of 25 and was the Managing Director for three years before stepping back to spend more time with her family and only work on specific projects within the company. Sally is married to Mark and has three sons. She is no longer working in an executive role but is still a Director and shareholder of Pumpkin Patch. Sally also enjoys charity work and mentoring other young entrepreneurs.

Brenda Ward, Editor, Next magazine

Brenda Ward is the award-winning editor of Next magazine. Brenda started her career as a fire engine-chasing reporter in newspapers in New Zealand then moved to Britain where she covered major stories for papers in Leicester and London. Back in New Zealand, she became chief reporter of the Auckland Star, then moved into magazines, leaping onto what she describes as the 'weekly magazine treadmill' as editor of New Idea. She helped launch Grace, the NZ Herald Canvas magazine and the Sunday Star Times magazine, Sunday, and then was lured to ACP Magazines, to edit Your Home & Garden. In 2006 Brenda was the MPA Editor of the Year, Home & Food. She took over the helm at Next earlier this year and says she is thrilled to be involved in such an inspirational award.


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