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Who’s where: movements at Michael Hill, Vend and Dick Smith

  • Who's Where
  • December 7, 2015
  • Elly Strang
Who’s where: movements at Michael Hill, Vend and Dick Smith
L-R: Michael Hill CEO Mike Parsell, Michael Hill and Emma Hill at the company's 300th store opening.

Vend: Vend has announced Sam Morgan, founder and long-time CEO of Trade Me, has joined its board of directors.

He sold the online auction site to Fairfax in 2006 for $750 million, but has continued to be at the forefront of the technology and software industry.

He has sat on Fairfax Media’s board and is an investor in Xero, also sitting on its board.

 Morgan was also one of Vend’s earliest shareholders, providing the initial capital that allowed Vend founder and COE Vaughan Rowsell to work on the company full time.

Rowsell and Morgan have had a long-time history working together on technology, as they worked at Trade Me together.

“This is a great result for Vend,” Rowsell says. “Sam has been part of Vend and involved since the beginning. With the massive global growth opportunity ahead of us, and partnerships with companies like Apple, PayPal and Xero, now is the right time to really leverage his skills and experience with a seat on the board.”

Morgan says he looks forward to helping Vend on their journey.

Michael Hill: Sir Michael Hill, the founder of the jewellery company of the same name, has stood down as chairman and taken on a new role as founder president of the company.

He will be replaced by his daughter Emma Hill as chairman.

Emma Hill has worked at the company for 30 years, starting as a part-time professional on the Whangarei shop floor at age 13.

 She established Michael Hill Canada in 2002, which has now hit 65 stores. Emma Hill said the company still has the ambition to grow to 1000 plus stores.

One shareholder questioned Emma Hill’s appointment and said the chairperson of publicly listed companies is required to be independent directors by some stock exchanges, including the ASX.

Michael Hill shed tears when defending his daughter’s appointment.

He said it’s important that the company stays a family business and doesn’t become a big business without romance or soul.

Independent director Rob Fyfe, former chief executive of Air New Zealand, said the board had decided there was enormous competitive value in having a family-led brand.

“This was strongly supported by the independent directors,” Fyfe said. “Effectively the independent directors on the board wanted continuity of that family founder profile which is a powerful asset compared to companies that do not have that.”

Chief executive Mike Parsell is also standing down from the board following a board review of company governance.

The board review found that the chief executive being on the board created a potential conflict of interest and ambiguity into roles of governance and management.

Dick Smith: An executive at Australian discount department store chain Big W has joined Dick Smith.

Former head of trade and family entertainment Algy Pereira has moved to the embattled electronic retailer as its director of retail operations.

Dick Smith issued a statement that said it was excited about the impact Pereira will have on the company.

“He is a great senior hire who brings fantastic experience and capabilities to the business,” it said.

Pereira was rumoured as a potential candidate for the CEO role, as current CEO Nick Abbound has come under fire for the troubled company’s decline in value.

Dick Smith has lost nearly $90 million of its market value and lost more than 80 percent of its value this year after its sales decline forced it to abandon its profit forecast.

A sales slump in October and November has meant the company has excess stock and will possibly need to write down $60 million. As a result, its share price halved.

It is predicted that Dick Smith will have a huge sale over the Christmas period to make up for its cuts, with one insider reporting it will have a 70 percent off everything campaign.

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