By Richard Hall | Posted: Friday June 29, 2018
At a recent school assembly old boy Stephen Anderson was our guest speaker.
Steve spoke about being kind to all, and how that actually helped him get a very important job.
Mr Anderson is currently the CEO of Foodstuffs South Island and GM of Foodstuffs NZ. Foodstuffs South Island is a cooperative structure that looks after a significant number of NZ's most iconic brands, such as; Pak n' Save, New World, Four Square, Raeward Fresh, Henry's Beer Wine and Spirits and On the Spot Convenience stores.
In 2010 he was appointed Managing Director of Foodstuffs NZ Ltd and Chairs Foodstuffs NZ Liquor Ltd.
In these roles, it is Steve's job to lead the strategy and operational structures for this company, a business which turned over $3 billion dollars in 2017.
Leadership and people management are key skills that he has - he has learned over a very fine career the importance of planning, of clear vision, of teamwork and of making the most of the opportunity that is placed in front of you.
Most powerfully he spoke about his most hated four letter word 'just' He spoke clearly that if our boys are ‘just’ in the 2nd XI, or 'just' gained merit, then that is what people will hear. They are not ‘just’ in the 2nd XI, they are part of the 2nd XI and should be working hard to play well for that team. That is a positive.
Too often our boys will talk any achievement down, and while as a country we hate those who skite, we also need to get young people to boost themselves by acknowledging what they are good at.
Steve attended OBHS between 1974-1978. In each of his 5 years here he was in the top class, in an era where everything was based on percentages and we streamed more heavily than today.
One of the wonderful things about this school is that we throw away very little and we were able to find Steve's academic file in our archives. At school, he played basketball, volleyball was interested in photography and was a member of the Otago Squash Racquets club.
His reports indicate a bright student who was generally engaged in class, his report comments are littered with phrases such as 'Well organised student who is working well and should continue to do so', although according to his fourth form or year 10 report he was not very interested in French. At this time students in the top class were made to do a language and were not allowed to do technology options.
On leaving school he completed a BSC majoring in Geology and later a Masters of Business Administration. Following working for Shell NZ Ltd in retail sales, Steve travelled to London and spent time working for large multinational companies such as Shell International Chemical Company as a business analyst. He also chaired Loyalty NZ and was a Board member of Arthur Barnett Ltd, an iconic Dunedin based company in the 1990's.
His wife and three children are based in Christchurch, but I know that he has a real interest in Dunedin, Otago and his old school. He first met me last year when he came and offered to speak or to assist in any way possible.
Another example of hand up, not out.