The New Zealand Herald is bringing back some of the best premium stories of 2020. Today we look at profiles of prominent New Zealand businessmen and women.
'I can't spend my salary': Briscoes boss on money, business and why Kiwis love a sale
Catch sight of Rod Duke puffing away on a fag outside his Morningside office and you just wouldn't know. Rich Lister ($800-odd million at last count), the man who wants helicopters to land on a boatshed below his four-level Herne Bay mansion, CEO of a $1 billion company. He looks more like a bloke who might have a lawn mowing round.
The fact that he doesn't look rich doesn't bother him. He bought his Omega watch because he liked the bracelet, there's a hint of a gold neck chain but it's hidden behind his customary casual wear and he's still happy to snap up a bargain at one of Briscoes' sales.
Rob Fyfe on Covid-19, advising the PM, why he likes tackling a crisis
After Rob Fyfe agrees to be interviewed for a profile, his EA asks politely if I can send some questions in advance of the Zoom video being recorded for the Herald's Business Hub. I thought Fyfe was being unnecessarily cautious, suspicious even, as in "what's the media going to ask me?"
But it turns out that's not the case. With the Zoom recording over, we chat on the phone for another hour and Fyfe admits to a couple of things.
One is fear of the unknown. He likes to be prepared, know what he's facing in the room before he walks into it. As a result, he's not particularly fond of the unexpected.
He also likes to know the essence of a problem before he takes it on; know what a journalist's going to ask him, not because he fears the question but because he fears not knowing the answer.
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Businessman Rob Fyfe talks to Jane Phare about his role as business advisor to the Prime Minister, living with Covid-19, his "slow brain," and what he learned from the Airbus A320 crash at Perpignan and Pike River.
Rich pickings: Is Zuru after your brand?
Nick Mowbray is the first to admit he doesn't waste time on things he's no good at – cooking, mowing vast lawns, navigation. It's inefficient, he says.
"I just stick to what I'm really good at (he calls it ROT, return on time) and I don't want any other distraction. Is that healthy?" He grins. "Probably not."
Better to use his time and talents to build a global empire. That's Mowbray's mission: to create a 21st Century version of global giant Procter & Gamble in record time. He's already well on the way with Zuru Edge, which, when he's finished, will be the mother ship to dozens of "disruptive" consumer brands taking supermarkets by storm.
Zuru's multi-millionaire co-owner Nick Mowbray and partner Jaimee Lupton tell how and why they're taking on leading consumer brands and knocking them off the top shelf. Exclusive interview by Jane Phare.