Upping our game

Business success comes from many sources, but among those are diversity of thought, openness and willingness to challenge, innovate and a determination to do better and deliver outcomes.

Most advisory firms are often closed loops that generate group think and are often not subject to external challenge on their performance until it is too late and they are subject to litigation and or professional discipline.

Some advisory firms will have a functioning Board that attempts to provide oversight and challenge on operations. Mostly these boards are compiled of executives, and the existence of a board is simply a ‘partners’ or ‘shareholders’ meeting. A very small number, and as far as I can tell only a subset of the big four in the accounting firms, have seen fit to appoint an external non-executive director.

Some time ago, we appointed a non-major shareholder as a Director and appointed her as Chair of our Board. Marion Garlick has had the joy as Chairman of attempting to hold me to account, while she herself reports to me, while I in turn have the power as a shareholder (almost) to remove her as a Director. An invidious situation which she has handled well because we are all open to challenge.

With effect from 6th June 2019, we have now appointed our first non-executive director, Rebecca Thomas. Rebecca is an English-born proud Kiwi, who shares our collective values of growing NZ capacity and supporting our people to succeed. She is a true internationalist, with international banking, capital markets and fund management experience. A lawyer, a professional director, and CEO of a substantial wholesale fund management business, Mint Asset Management Limited, which is The Morningstar Domestic Equities Fund Manager of the Year in 2019. (See Rebecca’s reflections below.)

The board, leadership team and shareholders of Gilligan Sheppard are all excited and honored to have her accept this role in our firm.


Rebecca Thomas

Like no other accounting firm

I am looking forward to my first board meeting as a Gilligan Sheppard board member. I chose to join this board for the following reasons, in no particular order;

  • I met Bruce when we both served on the FMA and we found each other to be straight forward, strident and practical.
  • I met the directors and the leadership team at Gilligan Sheppard, and they are like no other accounting firm I have encountered.
  • They are among the very few firms that actively originate private equity and VC deals. I have not encountered any firms in NZ with a dedicated team that focuses on this activity. There are many that do M&A, but few who originate the opportunity.
  • Unlike most professional firms they are non-hierarchal, they share the profits with the team and operate an active ESOP equity scheme not dissimilar to other businesses reliant on talent.

I look forward to bringing my own perspective and skills to helping this awesome team achieve their potential.

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