Fisher & Paykel board recruits controversial Aussie exec

Sue Morphet

Australian-based Sue Morphet has been appointed to the board of Chinese-owned Fisher & Paykel Appliances Holdings.

Companies Office records show the former chief executive of ASX-listed Pacific Brands was appointed on January 1 but the company announced the appointment today.

“The board is delighted to announce Sue’s appointment as a director," Fisher & Paykel Appliances Holdings chairman Dr Keith Turner says, in a statement. 

"Sue’s commercial experience, strong track record and retail experience in Australia, our largest market, make her a valuable addition."

In 2009, while chief executive of Pacific Brands, Ms Morphet came under pressure after her pay hiked from about $A680,000 to more than $A1.8 million, as the manufacturer of brands such as Berlei, Bonds and Jockey posted a big loss and slashed jobs across Australia as it shifted work to China.

She stepped down two years ago, after the company announced a loss of $A450.7 million.

Her appointment may spark speculation that Fisher & Paykel may be looking to move its Auckland manufacturing operations offshore, which was last an issue in late 2012 when Chinese whiteware maker Haier took over the former publicly-listed company.

In September 2012, after the takeover bid was announced, Haier said the company's long-term preference was to keep F&P's "innovation capability" in New Zealand.

However, the company made it clear the comments only related to the proposed offer and it reserved the right to make changes after consulting Fisher & Paykel's board.

At the time, that conditional promise did little to allay union fears of a Kiwi manufacturing shutdown.

Melbourne-based Ms Morphet is chairwoman of lobby group Manufacturing Australia, and a director of National Tiles and Merton Pastoral. 

Ms Morphet held a number of senior positions at Pacific Brands from 1996 to 2008, including group general manager, Bonds and general manager of Tontine. 

Fisher & Paykel's statement says Ms Morphet has extensive retail experience, has developed and driven digital strategy, led business transformations and successful brand development. 

"In particular, Sue has a deep understanding of the Australian retail market and Australian consumers," the statement says.

dwilliams@nbr.co.nz

This article is tagged with the following keywords. Find out more about My Tags

NZ Market Snapshot

Forex

Sym Price Change
USD 0.7740 -0.0003 -0.04%
AUD 0.9511 0.0005 0.05%
EUR 0.6324 -0.0002 -0.03%
GBP 0.4954 0.0001 0.02%
HKD 6.0039 0.0001 0.00%
JPY 92.5100 -0.0050 -0.01%

Commods

Commodity Price Change Time
Gold Index 1195.4 -2.890 2014-12-19T00:
Oil Brent 61.4 1.580 2014-12-19T00:
Oil Nymex 57.1 2.910 2014-12-19T00:
Silver Index 16.0 0.096 2014-12-19T00:

Indices

Symbol Open High Last %
NZX 50 5518.5 5545.0 5539.3 -0.21%
NASDAQ 4752.6 4782.1 4748.4 0.36%
DAX 9901.3 9901.3 9811.1 -0.25%
DJI 17778.0 17874.0 17778.2 0.15%
FTSE 6466.0 6566.9 6466.0 1.23%
HKSE 23158.3 23189.6 22832.2 1.25%
NI225 17511.0 17621.4 17210.0 2.39%