Incoming Air New Zealand chief executive Greg Foran's parents, Pat and Glenda Foran of Papamoa, have kept the biggest secret of their lives this year.
"We're thrilled to bits," said father, Pat, aged 86, when news of his son's new position broke.
"It's been terrible not being able to talk about it for so long. Earlier this year, he was driving in from Auckland Airport and I asked him how he was going and he said to me 'oh I had a call from the head hunters for Air New Zealand today'," Pat Foran said.
Mother Glenda said one of her best friend's daughters works for the national airline and although that friend had asked what Greg was planning, she said there was no way she could even drop a hint: "There were no leaks!"
The schoolteacher parents remember a strong-minded son who could turn his hand to whatever he chose.
"He was a very determined child," Glenda Foran said. "We always sat at the table for breakfast and dinner, no TV. He works very hard and everything he has wanted to do, he has succeeded at."
The parents recalled how the family moved often because of their teaching roles and that meant different schools for sons Greg and Warwick.
Pat Foran recalled Greg playing rugby but when the parents couldn't always be on the sideline, they became concerned about the contact nature of the sport, so he then switched to harriers.
Fishing and sailing were other family activities.
"The whole family are keen on fly fishing for trout," Pat recalled. "I built a cottage 50m from the Tongariro River at Taupo. Greg loved fly fishing. He also developed a passion for sailing which started in Hastings.
"He and I went halves in a 10ft sailing dinghy and we taught ourselves to sail on the lake at Hamilton and then down at Taupo. In Sydney, he got to know people who sail on Sydney Harbour and once raced to Southport."
Not long ago, the parents said, the family all attended a Wellington family wedding with Greg and his family from the US. One of the five children of brother Warwick married, the parents said.
The families have also been together on the Gold Coast recently at Broadbeach.
Records show Foran owns two New Zealand properties: one in Hamilton which his father said was an investment and a section in the Coromandel where no home has yet been built, at Onemana near Whangamatā.
He also has an inner-city Auckland apartment where he might live, at least initially.
"Air New Zealand will be pleased to have him" Pat Foran concluded.
• Gregory Stephen Foran
• Born: July 22, 1961
• Parents: retired schoolteachers Pat and Glenda Foran, Papamoa
• Brother, Warwick Foran, Wellington
• Lives: Fayetteville, United States
• Primary education: Twyford School Hastings. Secondary: St John's College, Hastings; St John's College, Hamilton; Hillcrest High School, Hamilton.
• Married with four children