We find out who's new at the head of businesses in New Zealand

What's the biggest challenge you have faced in getting to the top?

Recognising that you need to be willing to give things a go and play to win in the areas that really matter. This means moving smartly with speed and courage but always being prepared to keep learning or to adapt - or even to stop an initiative at equal pace when necessary.

How are you coping with an increased public profile? It's not about me. Whatever profile I have is courtesy of this great New Zealand company with its iconic brands and a history of innovation and achievement so I am very lucky. I love DB and what the company stands for. I also respect and like the people who work here and our customers, suppliers and key partners I have met so far. I find that when you are fully engaged with what you do and do the job to the very best of your ability, that even when the pressure comes on, it goes with the territory and doesn't tend to be too onerous.

What's your top tip for being a successful leader? I believe in always staying true to yourself and I am a great believer in personal authenticity. It never works trying to be something or somebody you are not. On a business level, I would say that the workplace culture you create and live by in an organisation is more important than any strategy you write on a piece of paper. Listening is also key.


What do you think are some of the biggest misconceptions Kiwis have about chief executives? I think people - not just Kiwis - often underestimate the complexity and fluidity of a CEO role. Sporting metaphors are commonly used to talk about leadership. But we don't play on a pitch or a court. The scope is infinitely broader. And the game never ends.

Who is your biggest supporter? My wife Becky. A top marketer in her own right and now both a business and personal coach. She knows me well and keeps me focused.

Who has inspired you in your career? A combination of people have been inspirations to date. One or two outstanding managers in former companies spring to mind thanks to their personalities, conviction and vision which brilliantly mobilised the companies and inspired their customers and consumers. My parents also deserve a vote of thanks for my career success as they taught me the importance of good values and living life, personally and in business, with a strong value set.

What do you do to relax and unwind? Spending quality time with Becky and our three young, sports-mad boys, Josh and Ben (10-year-old twin boys) plus Sam (8 years old). It could be playing rugby, football, cricket, golf, tennis or fishing - all with the goal to exhaust one another. I also enjoy trying to keep fit and indulging in my musical passion for Bruce Springsteen - so I am very happy that he is in Auckland for two nights in March.

When you do take time out do you turn the phone off? I should do ... but I tend not to. Now there's a good resolution for 2014.