Sir Douglas Myers - no 'eureka' moments in business

By Aimee Shaw

Sir Douglas Myers. Photo / Janna Dixon
Sir Douglas Myers. Photo / Janna Dixon

Beer baron Sir Douglas Myers, one of the country's richest men and former chief executive of Lion Breweries and Lion Nathan, says success in business comes from a gradual accumulation of knowledge and experience.

"Personally, I never had a moment where I suddenly said, "Eureka, this is it." Maybe some people do, but I don't really believe in that sort of bullshit much."

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The 77 year-old, who has aggressive secondary cancer, sat down with Jake Millar to talk about his life and reflect on his success.

"People think business is just about passing exams. It's not at all. It's about having the character to really want to have the drive and the imagination to sit in this. Particularly, these days, with IT and stuff, to see where the opportunities are," Myer said.

His advice?

"Now, one, was the brain. Second, is a desire to use it. Third, is the drive to, and the capacity to get out of problems."

Myers' father, Sir Kenneth Myers, and grandfather, Sir Arthur Myers, were both very successful businesspeople, as were those on his mother's side of the family.

He said when he was working with Lion, the company used to take 20 "kids" in every year to start a trainee program.

"They came from all sorts of walks of life," he said.

"The scholarship program I've started in Cambridge, the first one we had was a Sri Lankan. I think, we've had Chinese, Indian, Chinese again. Men, women, gays. Out of 15 people, you couldn't get a much more diverse group."

Besides accomplishments in the brewing industry, Myers has put $3million into Auckland University's Kenneth Myers Arts Centre, created the Sir Douglas Myers Scholarship worth $100,000 a year to study at Cambridge University, and supported Auckland University's business school.

He is currently placed 9th on the National Business Review's rich list, with a fortune of $930 million.

- NZ Herald

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