Key Points:

Tenby Powell, who since 2003 has grown Hirepool from a network of 14 branches into a group of 86 hire businesses, is stepping aside.

He is handing over his role as chief executive of the parent company, New Zealand Rental Group, to Hirepool head Mark Powell, and says it's time he and wife Sharon Hunter's investment company Hunter Powell diversified its interests.

He will stay on as an executive director of NZ Rental Group.

Powell said business opportunities would start to appear in New Zealand later this year.

"There are going to be quite significant growth opportunities yet to reveal themselves."

Hunter Powell would work in partnership with private equity entities as it had done in the past and focus on mid-market SMEs whose baby-boomer owners were looking to get out.

He said all the acquisitions Hirepool made were people in that category. "That age group doesn't always have successors to pass their businesses to."

Hunter Powell bought a 24.5 per cent stake in Hirepool alongside Goldman Sachs JBWere when it purchased the business from Owens Group in 2003.

Through a combination of acquisitions, greenfield branch developments and partnerships Powell grew the operation into a nationwide group of equipment rental businesses, which included brands such as Port-A-Loo and Castles Marquee Hire.

Hirepool has increased its profits by 180 per cent in five years.

In July 2006 it was bought by Australian private equity firm Next Capital, with Hunter Powell retaining a 20 per cent stake.

Hunter Powell also has a $5 million investment with Next Capital in the Australian hire business On Site Rental, which it bought in July 2007.

Powell said he believed a certain leadership style was required at certain times, and Mark Powell's "steady hand on the tiller approach" was what New Zealand Rental Group now needed.