A few words from our future CEO

As Bruce has done, I will start by summarising my journey so far.

I began my career in Chartered Accountancy at a large mid-tier firm in 2003. I worked across two offices for two partners for nearly ten years. Looking back, I was lucky to have worked for the first partner (and manager), as I learned a lot from him. I often still recognise my style with some clients, business development, and approach to engagements based on what I learned from him. I was introduced to corporate finance engagements during my time there, and that has shaped my future passion and path – as I fell in love with it. It was an opportunity to engage and understand businesses and business owners, helping them to navigate challenges and transactions. During my time there, I also managed two amazing teams of people, most of whom I still have a relationship with today.

I joined GS at a point in my life when I was looking for a different environment, one more accepting of flexibility, as I navigated a new marriage and a one-year-old child. I had not heard of the firm, but the job advertisement proposed flexibility and up to 30% corporate finance work. Both, together, seemed too good to be true. The interview with Bruce was nothing I had experienced before – I had been warned that I might be asked either to: sing (lucky it was not this one, as I’d have flat-out refused and would probably not be here today), talk for five minutes on anything other than work, or, use chopsticks (this would have been entertaining for him as to this day, I can’t). I talked for five minutes, he must have heard something that satisfied his character criterion, and I was hired. And it all was true – I had complete flexibility and was trusted. I never broke that trust because what I had at GS was (is) pure gold.

Not being held back by red tape and just doing what made sense for clients, trusting myself and asking for help when I needed it, having challenging discussions, being thrown in the deep end, and learning from partners who owned businesses and made investments themselves is really empowering.

In addition, the clients and extended network of GS consisted of intelligent and down-to-earth people. Building relationships with clients can be difficult, and it sometimes was, but I found that generally, the network of GS reflected its culture. The discussions were human-to-human, ‘real’ (as opposed to superficial) and sometimes tough. But because of this, the ability to deliver quality was higher, and the relationships were more loyal and ‘sticky’.

My initial two years at GS were the steepest learning curve and confidence-building period of my career up to that time. I had true freedom to prioritise my family, and this, combined with access to great learning opportunities and healthy curiosity, just inspired and drove my performance. The innovation capability was also evident at GS with the recent setting up of an outsourced team in India (now used by hundreds of firms across NZ and Australia). I was proud to be a part of GS. Around two years after I joined the firm, the Value-Added Services (VAS) team was set up to concentrate solely on the business’s capital raising, property and corporate finance aspects. A few years later, I started leading that team, and a few years after that, I was offered an equity partnership at GS. It was an honour to join Bruce, Richard, and Yi Ping in owning and leading GS.

The greatest and most effective mentor I have had in my life thus far is Bruce.

He is highly intelligent and a fountain of knowledge (I’m sure he has a photographic memory). Despite being highly opinionated on most things, he has the ability to teach how to think rather than what to think. I cannot and do not want to imagine a GS without him, and we are so glad that he is choosing to remain with us and carry on his work in property, capital raising, negotiation and dispute resolution. We all still have so much to learn from him, and he still has lots to contribute. Please rest assured that Bruce remains present and will continue to do what brings him joy.

Richard, the GS tax partner, is the best tax specialist I have ever come across, with the natural ability to interpret tax legislation and explain its application in simple terms, coupled with the reasoning behind it all. Yi Ping is a highly knowledgeable generalist, and I am still blown away whenever we are in a meeting together or I am engaging with her on a client. Humphrey, our salaried partner and ‘innovator’, has the talent to think differently. Being entrepreneurial, owning and running his own businesses, makes him our natural expert in capital raising and property transactions. More importantly, all three are great humans whose values align with the legacy Bruce wishes to pass on into the future.

So, while I am being handed the reigns as CEO from 2025, I am supported by an amazing leadership team. 

The collective core values reflect Bruce’s legacy because his succession has been based on this. As CEO, my underlying driver is that these collective core values are protected. My professional history, which I have shared here, has a theme which is focused on learning from great mentors. My experience of the GS values of freedom and trust continuously drive my growth and help me realise my potential every day. This is the environment I wish to create for the GS team while focusing on excellent performance and quality service to all our clients. I believe innovation is a key part of the GS ethos and history, so this will remain an ongoing focus. Most of all, I believe in the potential of people, be it our team, or our clients, and will work hard for it to be realised.

If you don’t know where to begin, want to talk through something, or have a specific question but are not sure who to address it to, fill in the form, and we’ll get back to you within two working days.

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