What the CEOs are saying - Peter Reidie

Peter Reidie, managing director of Goodman Fielder.
Peter Reidie, managing director of Goodman Fielder.

Peter Reidie Goodman Fielder

Peter Reidie has a clear message for John Key: "I would urge the prime minister to think more long-term with regards to key decision-making and not be swayed thinking about short term polling results."

"We elected a businessman to make the hard decisions and he should make them for the long term good of the country."

Reidie - who did time as a policy wonk during the 1980s economic reform revolution in New Zealand - would like to see more emphasis on priorities,

His solution to improve New Zealand would be to "have our political leaders think strategically and align to doing few things well rather than many things poorly.

"The scale and size of New Zealand means we have to make some choices."

Come October, Reidie will have been two years in the box seat as chief executive at Goodman Fielder.

He inherited a company which had posted a bottom line loss in August 2011, of A$166.7 million following a A$300 million writedown in the value of its baking division. His best achievement in the past 12 months has been to align the organisation to the delivery of a goal and then achieve it.

The Australasian food conglomerate has since stabilised with the share price rebounding from sub- NZ50c prices and earnings firmly back in the black. Revenue and profit growth are predicted in the next 12 months.

Reidie's top three priorities for the next 12 months are to:

• Restore topline growth

• Continue to address the company's cost base

• Improve business performance.

One issue that does concern him is emerging severe skills shortages in some areas. "How do the Government, agencies and employers work to close these gaps with young people?" he questions. He would like to see more financial assistance to help young people move to centres with available work and more funding for tertiary education in subjects relevant to skills shortages.

He cites the cost of raw materials and components as a barrier to exporting more from New Zealand.

Reidie says the biggest single factor that would assist Goodman Fielder to remain competitive from New Zealand is an efficient, effective national roading system.

He would also like to see more public private partnerships in the infrastructure space.

"If you live at the beach and drive to the city, what is wrong with expecting you to contribute to the cost of providing that quality of life?

"PPP's have transformed Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne roads. Why on earth are we taking so long?"

Paul Ravlich Siemens NZ

Paul Ravlich rates his best achievement in the past 12 months as the HVDC Pole 3 going into commercial operation at the end of May.

The $672 million high voltage direct current (HDVC) link boosts power transmission between the North and South islands and will enable energy operator Transpower to manage the power grid more effectively.

"It was a huge milestone in an extremely challenging project," he says.

He expects to make some strategic changes in the 12 months focusing on managing talent, optimising digital infrastructure and driving engagement through social media.

"Our technology is helping to create the 'internet of things' - it's exciting."

Though he supports creating a more flexible working environment to attract GenYrs or millennials, strong policies around the use of social media from work are required.

"A conservative approach to a "more playful environment" has been adopted; we are by no means a Google in this respect."

In the next 12 months, Ravlich's top three priorities are:

• Organic growth through repeatable business

• Maintaining profitability levels

• New business opportunities.

Kevin Jaffe Simpson Grierson

Simpson Grierson's Kevin Jaffe believes it's crucial New Zealand continues to attract foreign direct investment from China. "It's easy to underestimate the benefits this brings to New Zealand and the debate too often gets cast in nationalistic terms."

Jaffe says from his law firm's experience, Chinese investors are extremely sophisticated and "have the ability to add significant operational value to their NZ investments."

Simpson Grierson is one of New Zealand's largest law firms.

Jaffe says though, in his experience, there is a willingness to see a more positive outlook in relation to economic confidence, "the reality remains that conditions are very challenging." He rates his best achievement in the past 12 months as Simpson Grierson becoming more efficient as an organisation.

Jaffe's top three business priorities for the next 12 months are:

• Client relationships

• Business efficiency

• Talent development.

One change he would like to see to improve New Zealand would be to reduce regulation in investment areas. He would also like to see more Government investment in infrastructure for growth - roading, energy generation and broadband.

- NZ Herald

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