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Gough Group CEO to step down

5 July 2017


Gough Group CEO to step down

One of New Zealand’s oldest and best known privately-owned businesses will lose its Chief Executive at the end of the year.

Karl Smith, CEO of the Gough Group for the last nine years, will retire at the end of 2017 to take up new opportunities as an independent director and with projects for private, public and council-owned companies within New Zealand.

He has led the company of more than 850 employees and its network of over 50 locations in Australia and New Zealand through challenging times such as the Global Financial Crisis and the 2010/11 Christchurch earthquakes, and leaves it in a sound financial situation.

Board chair Keith Taylor described him as a “tenacious and resilient leader” who had made a “tremendous contribution” to the Gough Group.

“He leaves an excellent foundation for the Group to continue to grow in both New Zealand and Australia. Karl has been an inspirational leader of the Group across our New Zealand and Australian businesses and has built a great culture with our team, our customers, and our major Original Equipment Manufacturers such as Caterpillar, Palfinger, Hyster-Yale, SAF-Holland and WABCO.”

Deputy chairman and majority owner Ben Gough said Smith would leave a lasting legacy of performance and leadership in all his dealings across the many stakeholders.

“The past few months have seen the highest monthly sales for the Group in our 85-year history and we now have the strongest order bank we have seen for over 10 years under Karl’s leadership. We will sorely miss him.”

Smith was appointed CEO in 2008 just before the GFC which resulted in a very difficult period of trading for the Group. He effected a significant turnaround resulting in some of the strongest growth in the business’s trading history.

Highlights of his time with the Gough Group include:
• The major sales of Caterpillar equipment in New Zealand during the mining boom
• The acquisition and integration of Palfinger Australia
• The development of a strong Health and Safety culture
• Dealing with the effects of the Canterbury earthquakes on Gough Group team members, customers and wider stakeholders.

Smith relocated from Christchurch to Auckland a year ago, to add impetus to the critical growing markets in the northern regions. He has also secured new dealerships in the concrete services sectors for both New Zealand and Australia beginning from June 2017.

Smith was an independent director for the Crusaders super rugby franchise for 10 years, has been a director of Lyttelton Port Company for five years, and is currently an independent director of the Ports of Auckland.

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