Sunday, December 6, 2009

Hugh Fletcher: Silver spoon no recipe for success

In an interview with Kim Hill on National Radio a few weeks back Fletcher Building Ltd [FBU.NZ] former CEO Hugh Fletcher gives his views on the history of the business and his time there.

Fletcher followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather at what was then Fletcher Challenge. He remains a director of Fletcher Building to this day.

He is currently on the board of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand in 2002 and chairs the board of directors of IAG New Zealand and is a director at Vector Ltd [VCT.NZ], and a board member of Insurance Australia Group.

The interesting part of the interview is the glossing over by Hugh of his failure as CEO in the 1980s-1990s. Under his reign the company limped towards oblivion in the 1990s as failed expansion attempts led to the breakup of the company into 3 different divisions in 2000.

He made many enemies along the way, notably Sir Ron Trotter, Sir Ron Brierly and Dr Rod Deanne, a former director at Fletcher Challenge and failed former CEO of Telecom NZ [TEL.NZ].

A very interesting view from Mr Fletcher on the history of what is now Fletcher Building and it is ironic that the company went back to its roots in the building industry after its failure under the grandson of the founder.

It just goes to show, leaders and business are not born but made from hard work and ability and often separated from parentage.

Disc: I own a small FBU holding in the Share Investor Portfolio

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Discuss Fletcher Building @ Share Investor Forum - Register free


The story of his family and their company is told in Fletchers: a Centennial History of Fletcher Building by Paul Goldsmith

Fletchers: A Centennial History of Fletcher Building

c Share Investor 2009

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