CFO of the Year
Scott Scoullar, CFO, Summerset Group Holdings Ltd
Scott has led the finance team to overhaul Summerset’s financial, customer relations, and human resource systems and business processes which has allowed Summerset to grow its profit from $50mm to $250mm and retirement units served from 2,100 to 3,400. Scott has led the finance team’s contribution to this success by thoroughly understanding the profit and customer relationship drivers at Summerset and eliminating system bottlenecks that would have impeded growth. In addition, Scott and the finance team led the successful effort to place the largest retail bond in the retirement sector history that provided Summerset with capital to grow profitably in the future. Scott’s leadership on finance system improvements played an instrumental role in preparing Summerset’s systems and processes for the profitable growth that they have enjoyed for the last four years. Scott also displayed a detailed knowledge of Summerset’s value drivers and showed how the finance team has helped the business create value. The judges found Scott’s achievements as a successful CFO in both government and listed companies to be an example of agility and excellence in finance leadership.
Emerging Financial Manager of the Year
Nicki Florence, Finance Manager - Corporate, Commercial and Institutional, Westpac New Zealand Limited
Nicki is a passionate finance leader with a history of jumping in the deep end to tackle big challenges. She has had a number of roles within Westpac, covering forecasting, transformation, reporting and business partnering. Nicki has redesigned processes end-to- end to produce more robust and simple insights, all based on a deep understanding of the business. She also makes time to mentor Westpac colleagues. Her efforts within Westpac have been recognised on a number of occasions through an internal rewards programme. Nicki has been an outstanding contributor within the Westpac finance team, translating numbers into insights and then into sound, executed business strategy. In addition to being a trusted advisor, she backs that up with the soft skills to influence the business to deliver real business benefits. Nicki’s a great team player and role models the behaviours and skills of the modern finance leader, helping Westpac to be a better place to work.
Finance Team of the Year
Xero Limited Finance Team
2018 was a busy year for the Xero Finance Team. They were a key part of driving several major corporate finance projects including Xero’s successful and innovative US$300m convertible note and acquisition of Hubdoc, a leading data capture solution for accountants. The finance team is centred in Wellington but operates on a global basis through strong collaboration, ensuring the team is at the centre of every strategic initiative the business makes, enabling Xero to grow rapidly without hitting system or process bottlenecks. The Xero finance team is now a well-oiled global machine operating at pace, developing and implementing the structure, processes, and systems needed to support the rapid ongoing growth of Xero.
Financial Innovation Project of the Year
The OCS project used agile practices to centralise and streamline processes by integrating the Australian and New Zealand operations into an Australasian business based in Auckland and migrating all 11 companies and the 3 systems under one SAP platform in a 4 month period. The challenge was technically difficult, and the team had to work across tight timeframes in different time zones to deliver, whilst maintaining business as usual to customers. The success has been so dramatic, that other entities in the global OCS group are also now considering bringing some Asian based group companies under the New Zealand business. The judges were impressed with the combination of technical complexity, finance team innovation, business improvement and better staff outcomes the OCS project delivered, making it an extremely worthy recipient for this award.
Outstanding Contribution to Finance & Business
Sir Rob McLeod
Of Ngati Porou descent, growing up in Manutuke, just south of Gisborne Sir Rob graduated with a conjoint degree in commerce and law, which he started at Otago University and completed at Auckland University. With this mix of disciplines, he decided a career in taxation would be the best match joining a firm that was the predecessor to the current KPMG firm, known as Gilfillan Morris & Co. He was made partner in that firm at 27 years of age.
He has been a specialist tax practitioner for more than 30 years. In his career, he has held a number of senior leadership roles in New Zealand, Australian and Māori business organisations, including chairing the New Zealand Business Round Table for eight years and chairing the 2001 government tax review. He served as chief executive and managing partner of Ernst & Young New Zealand, before being appointed to the same role for EY Australasia, for approximately five years. During this time, he pushed an active agenda for gender equity and championed indigenous initiatives, including EY filing its first reconciliation action plan in Australia. He was also instrumental in actively transitioning EY’s domestic focus on Australia and New Zealand to one of Asia Pacific integration.
Sir Rob is a retired member of the Business Council of Australia where he served on the council’s Taskforces on Indigenous Engagement and Economic Policy and Competitiveness. Being entrenched in commerce, with his Ngāti Porou whakapapa, he found his way to championing Maori interests, small business and entrepreneurship and a key driver of Māori economic development. He served on the 2004 Hui Taumata Taskforce to increase Māori participation, leadership and governance in the workforce. He was lead negotiator on the Treaty settlement for Ngāti Poroua, from 2008 to 2010 and a member of the Māori Economic Development Taskforce. He was also a member of the establishment team for Te Puni Kokiri.
Other governance roles include serving on an Independent Ministerial Advisory Panel for the Defence Review, the National Infrastructure Advisory Board and the Ministerial Taskforce on Tertiary Education. He has been a Commissioner of the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission, and chaired Aotearoa Fisheries Limited. He has held directorships of Tainui Group Holdings, Telecom NZ, ANZ, Sky City, Gulliver Travel and Sealord. He is currently deputy chairman of Sanford, chairman of Quayside Holdings and the E Tipu E Rea Trust, and a director of the Port of Tauranga.
He was named Knight companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to business and Māori.