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Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur Announced

Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur Announced

United States-based entrepreneur Wayne Huizenga has been named Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur of the Year.

Wayne was selected from 35 country finalists and awarded the prestigious title in Monte Carlo, Monaco last night. He is the only person in corporate history to be responsible for six companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange and to have founded three Fortune 500 companies. He created the global leader in waste management, Waste Management, Inc. as well as the third largest U.S. waste disposal company, Republic Industries. He also created Blockbuster Entertainment, the global leader in video entertainment, created AutoNation, the country’s first and world’s largest public automotive dealership, was the owner of three professional U.S. sports teams, and is currently the owner of the Miami Dolphins of the National Football League.

New Zealand was represented in the international line up of entrepreneurs by fitness pioneer Phillip Mills of Les Mills International, who won the New Zealand Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award last year.

Commenting from Monte Carlo, Phillip congratulated Wayne on a deserved victory in the Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur of the Year.

“Wayne is simply a fantastic entrepreneur with an amazing record of having had three companies in the Fortune 500. He is also a really inspirational character - one of the real ‘good guys’ of international business, with a real concern for the environment and doing things for people less fortunate than himself,” says Phillip.

Phillip said it had been a privilege for himself and his wife Jackie to meet and talk to many incredible people during the three days of the awards event.

All 34 finalists had made brief speeches at the Saturday night awards presentation, and Phillip said it was clear many were making significant contributions to making the world a better place.

“It has simply been a fantastic experience and we have made some good friends here. Many of them are making a real difference for the good of humanity – from producing cheaper AIDS drugs for Africa, for example, to developing some simply amazing medical diagnostic equipment.”

Phillip said Ernst & Young were also to be congratulated for a hugely successful awards event and celebrating the achievements of many outstanding entrepreneurs.

Also in Monaco, Ernst & Young New Zealand Entrepreneur of the Year Award Director, Carol Campbell, said the international event had again proved the high calibre of entrepreneurial ability.

“It is always a wonderful experience to meet with the world’s best entrepreneurs at this event. New Zealand can be very proud of Phillip, he was an excellent representative of our country in the competition and truly belonged up there on the world stage with the other contestants,” says Carol.

Phillip pioneered the introduction of freestyle group exercise in New Zealand and developed a series of hugely popular exercise-to-music classes that would later evolve into the seven programmes now distributed globally by Les Mills. With four million participants weekly and licensees in 55 independent countries, Les Mills International has gained widespread recognition as the world's biggest producer of branded fitness classes.

Joining Phillip and Carol in Monte Carlo was fellow New Zealander David Johnson, who was only the second Kiwi to ever be invited to join the international judging panel. David, CEO of Trends Publishing, was the inaugural winner of the New Zealand Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year title in 1998.

Entries for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year are now open and close on 8 July. New Zealand’s 2005 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year will be announced at an award banquet on Wednesday, 12 October.

Now in its eighth year in New Zealand and nineteenth year worldwide, the award programme was launched by Ernst & Young to celebrate the world’s leading entrepreneurs and share their stories to inspire others. Now operating in 41 countries, it is recognised as the world’s most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs and is the only global business award in New Zealand.

Potential entrants can contact Ernst & Young for more information, phone 0800 368 737, email entrepreneur@nz.ey.com or visit www.ey.com/nz.

- ENDS -

NOTE: More information about Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2005 can be found at Ernst & Young’s website - www.ey.com/nz

About the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards

The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® awards programme was created and is produced by the professional services firm of Ernst & Young LLP. As the first award of its kind, the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® awards recognise outstanding entrepreneurs who are building and leading dynamic and growing businesses. The programme honours entrepreneurs through regional, national and global award programmes in over 150 cities and 41 countries.

About Ernst & Young

Ernst & Young, a global leader in professional services employs 106,000 people in more than 140 countries. Ernst & Young staff pursue the highest levels of integrity, quality, and professionalism to provide clients with solutions based on financial, transactional, and risk-management knowledge in Ernst & Young's core services of audit, tax, and corporate finance.

Further information about Ernst & Young and its approach to a variety of business issues can be found at www.ey.com/nz.

Ernst & Young refers to all the members of the global Ernst & Young organisation.

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