2015 Beacon Award
There are recognised ways to climb the corporate ladder. A degree in accountancy or law is almost a pre-requisite. Qualifying as an engineer and buying a hardware store is not the usual way.
But people with special talents will always shine through, and Tony Carter has demonstrated consummate skills in everything he has turned his mind to. Not following the usual path has been no barrier for our 2015 Beacon Award winner.
Nothing illustrates Tony’s particular skills better than his stellar career at Foodstuffs, where he ultimately became CEO of one of New Zealand’s largest organisations. Running a large co-operative brings a set of challenges that few executives face and even fewer succeed at mastering. Tony’s willingness to listen, and down to earth manner belie a razor sharp analytical mind and exceptional strategic acumen. The cooperative environment requires someone special, able to communicate and persuade a diverse group of owner operators to embrace a business culture that is responsive to not only their needs, but also the huge number of retail customers that they serve each day.
To leave to start a career in governance at a relatively young age also demonstrated courage and commitment . That the transition has been seamless is a testament to Tony’s abilities.
Most impressively, he remains humble and unaffected, despite chairing two of the most successful and internationally competitive companies in New Zealand, plus sitting on several other high profile boards. In 2014 he was recognised by his peers when named Chairman of the Year at the Deloitte Top 200 Awards. Further proof of his ability to get the best out of his companies and their people is evident at this year’s Deloitte Top 200 where he is associated with enterprises that are finalists in no fewer than five awards. No one else comes close.
Tony is decisive, and has repeatedly shown that once convinced of the merits of a particular action, he will become an enthusiastic early adopter.
His passion for running marathons illustrates a philosophy of preparation, and persistence that has served him and shareholders well. He is also prepared to tackle the really hard challenges as well. His non-voting chair role at the Auckland Blues is testament to that.
He deserves this award for more than just commercial excellence, which has been so rewarding for shareholders. It is also his unwavering determination to champion the highest standards of governance and ethical principles that puts him above many others.
Tony Carter is a most worthy winner of the 2015 NZSA Beacon Award.