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Top 200 Companies Awards Reflect Future Direction for NZ Enterprise

The past, present and future strength of New Zealand business enterprise all featured strongly in the winners’ line-up at tonight’s 2012 Deloitte/Management magazine Top200 Awards.

Ryman Healthcare Group was named Company of the Year; Port of Tauranga CEO Mark Cairns took the Executive of the Year title; Sir Henry van der Heyden – Fonterra’s chairman since 2002 – was named Chairperson of the Year;  and Kaiwhakahaere (Chairman) Mark Solomon of the iwi authority Ngai Tahu was awarded the Visionary Leader title.

The announcements were made tonight at a gala dinner at the SkyCity Convention Centre in Auckland - the 23rd annual event for New Zealand’s most prestigious business awards.

“The awards fairly reflect where New Zealand business has been and, more importantly, where it’s going,” said NZ Management magazine publisher Toni Myers. “The primary sector is most strongly represented by our largest organisation, Fonterra, but it is undergoing significant change to ensure its continued growth and strength. Likewise the export sector will always be critically important to us as a small trade-dependent nation so strong performance from our transport and logistics sector will underpin our future fortunes. And with demographic shifts the demand and requirement for well-managed aged-care provision signals an upward trajectory for that sector.”

Deloitte chief executive Thomas Pippos saluted all the winners and finalists as some of New Zealand’s best home-grown businesses and individuals, calling them the who’s who of the business community. “With their staggering growth success, Ryman leads the group of world-class Kiwi enterprises that were recognised tonight.  Together, the winners and finalists make a vital contribution to New Zealand’s economy and hold the keys to our future prosperity,” Mr Pippos said.

Ryman deserved the Company of the Year title because it reported “a record profit on top of a decade of record profits,” said the judges. This feat of consistent double digit growth is not only remarkable in New Zealand but is achieved by few companies worldwide, they said.  The business is now expanding globally, but in a measured and sustainable way. “It performs outstandingly well in a very competitive sector.”

Executive of the Year winner Mark Cairns is highly regarded by the Port of Tauranga board, leading a Management team that “exceeded expectations” in meeting the challenges of the past year, while still delivering a strong performance.  The grounding of the Rena and the port’s response to containers diverted from Auckland during industrial stoppages proved Cairns’ “outstanding ability to drive a future-focused strategy while maintaining the day-to-day focus on customer needs,” said the board’s chair, John Parker.

Sir Henry van der Heyden’s leadership of the Fonterra board has been particularly outstanding this year said the judges. Sir Henry has twice previously been a finalist in the Chairperson of the Year category. His strong leadership this year successfully delivered the giant cooperative’s Trading Among Farmers Scheme that will be critical to Fonterra’s equity raising capability in the future. He also successfully completed one of the most important of all governance tasks – the transition to a new chief executive.

This year’s Visionary Leader, Ngai Tahu’s Mark Solomon, is “unquestionably one of the most constructive players involved in trying to deliver a positive, fair and enlightened future for New Zealand,” said the judges.  Investment returns from Ngai Tahu’s substantial business activities are outstanding. But while commercial success is critical, from Solomon and the iwi authority’s perspective that success is simply the means to secure financial, cultural, physical and spiritual wellbeing for future generations.

Under Solomon’s guidance Ngai Tahu has successfully merged complex traditional Maori governance with contemporary commercial governance structures. “There is much that business organisations generally can learn from this,” the judges noted.

Ms Myers added that whilst the majority of Top200 businesses are still based on traditional corporate listed structures she sees the growing significance of alternatives. “Fonterra of course is a cooperative structure; and we will witness a huge growth in influence of Maori economic enterprises, many of which are under the umbrella of an iwi-based governance model. Just watch the Maori economic powerhouse grow,” she said.

Guests at the awards evening, comprising CEOs, executives and directors of New Zealand’s largest enterprises heard from Fonterra CEO Theo Spierings, in one of the few addresses he’s made to a large corporate audience since taking over the reins at Fonterra 12 months ago. Also speaking, in a pre-recorded video, was Rob Fyfe, departing Air New Zealand CEO and a past Top200 Executive of the Year winner. Fyfe was chairing his final Star Alliance meeting in China.

Other major category winners were: Glenys Powell, general manager sales and marketing of Medical Assurance Society LTD (Young Executive of the Year), Port of Tauranga (Most Improved Performance), Mainfreight (Best Growth Strategy) and ASB Bank (Responsible Governance Award).

The Top200 award winners

  • Deloitte/Management magazine Company of the Year: Ryman Healthcare Group
  • Deloitte/Management magazine Executive of the Year: Mark Cairns
  • NZIM/Eagle Technology Young Executive of the Year: Glenys Powell
  • QBE Chairperson of the Year: Sir Henry van der Heyden  
  • ilume Best Growth Strategy: Mainfreight
  • Marsh Most Improved Performance: Port of Tauranga
  • Institute of Directors Responsible Governance Award: ASB Bank
  • Designworks Visionary Leader Award: Mark Solomon

The December issue of NZ Management is out now, and includes full coverage of the Top200 Awards, and extensive analysis by expert business writers.

For the full 2012 Deloitte/Management Top200 Awards list and category finalists, please see www.Management.co.nz/top200.

About the Top200 Awards

The Deloitte/Management magazine Top200 Awards were established in 1990 and are run annually to recognise and applaud outstanding individual and Management team performances among New Zealand’s largest companies and trading organisations.

The Top200 award winners emerge from NZ Management magazine’s annual listing of the 200 largest corporations based on revenue, and a separate listing of New Zealand’s Top 30 financial enterprises based on asset value.

The lists comprise public listed and unlisted companies, New Zealand subsidiaries of multinational companies, cooperatives, societies and state-owned enterprises (SOEs), plus private companies prepared to supply audited accounts.

From the Top 200 index, significant contenders are identified for a series of awards. A thorough and comprehensive judging process follows, with the contenders whittled down following further research and scrutiny until the judges decide the three finalists and eventually the winner in each category.

The judges are well recognised and respected figures in the business community and are selected for their expertise in particular award categories.

ENDS

For further information, please contact:

Freya Munro-Goodey, PPR NZ, 021 040 6330

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