- Date published:
9:24 am, November 19th, 2023 - 105 comments
Categories: act, Christopher Luxon, david seymour, national, national/act government, nz first, same old national, winston peters - Tags:
Christopher Luxon has always talked the big talk about his corporate experience and his time at Air New Zealand. In fact it became something of a joke so often did he make this comment.
Of course Government is an entirely different beast. Instead of being under the control of a small group of wealthy individuals demanding that their return is maximised you have to look after the aims and aspirations of a country of diverse individuals. Or at least this is what should happen.
Luxon keeps talking up his experience with mergers and acquisitions. If you had a chocolate fish for each time he used this phrase you would put on a great deal of weight. If you had a drink every time he said this you would be very drunk.
But it appears that his skills and experience may have been overstated.
From Lloyd Burr at Newshub:
When Luxon was the boss of Air New Zealand, his acrimonious relationship with Virgin Australia’s boss John Borghetti saw him quit Virgin’s board and sell Air New Zealand’s stake, losing tens of millions of dollars.
“I’ve done a lot in my business life at Unilever and also at Air New Zealand.”
But how many were success stories and how many were failures?
“I’m not going into them specifically.”
Tova O’Brien has also been digging and has some background. From Stuff:
Air NZ and Virgin Australia entered into a marriage in 2010, that was before Luxon was Air NZ CEO. In 2013, as CEO, Luxon upped Air NZ’s shareholding in Virgin from 15% to 23% and then to 25.9%.
In 2016 Luxon attempted a coup to oust Virgin CEO John Borghetti but wasn’t successful. Luxon resigned from the board and sold Air NZ’s stake.
As for Unilever, Luxon worked with the mega multinational from 1993 to 2011 across five countries and eventually held the role of president and chief executive officer of Canadian operations.
Luxon was reluctant to go into detail about his merger and acquisition experience with the company, “Well it was a company that actually bought a lot of different companies so Unilever is one of the largest companies in the world,” Luxon explained.
Asked again how many M and As he oversaw at Unilever, Luxon simply replied, “A number of them.”
Unilever has been approached for comment and clarity.
Matthew Hooton has been scathing about Luxon’s performance labelling the recent photograph of the three leaders as being issued with all of the transparency of the North Korean Ministry for Information.
The really strong impression is that Luxon has overestimated his personal skills and has displayed a complete lack of understanding of the nature of the different parties.
Winston’s games this week was a direct message to Luxon of Peters’ disapproval with the process.
And there is no downside for Act or NZ First if the coalition discussions fail. As Hooton points out if the negotiations fail they can sit on the cross benches and play things issue by issue. And if it fails Act can say it stuck to its guns on its treaty referendum policy and NZ First can say it stuck to its guns on stopping sale of residential land to foreigners.
And it would make National look weak. Its funders would not be pleased.
I am confident that the media are pouring over every single merger and acquisition that Luxon was involved in. To see if his rhetoric matches reality.