Bubbles, spot prizes - is this really an annual meeting?

If Michael Hill’s address to shareholders last Friday was anything to go by, NBR would not be surprised if his foray into writing Toughen Up was just the beginning.

With champagne on arrival, spot prizes [Michael Hill watches] given away during the meeting and relentless promotion of his “bestseller” it had elements of a marketing or public relations exercise.

Michael Hill is always “on.” And at the lectern, he really warmed up.

“The direction of our company is a very ambitious one,” he said.

“To push the limits in life you need to take some gambles and have the guts to do things.”

The company could easily have stayed in New Zealand or Australia, but he pursued bigger things – a global brand, he said.

Mr Hill was on a roll, inspiring shareholders with rousing affirmations like, “we are going to win.”

He almost lost track explaining the company’s tactic to push the brand and strengthen the position in the US and Canada. “We’re not falling into the trap where we are going to be opening on several fronts.

“That was the fatal mistake of Hitler.”

After a few amused murmurs from the crowd, he quickly added, “but there’s no hard helmets here.”

After the meeting, Mr Hill responded to NBR’s questions with more references to the “upside of the downside,” why New Zealanders are so lucky to live here and his book, Toughen Up.

NBR wonders if there is more to come. Another book in the pipeline perhaps?

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Gotta love the man he is the eternal optimist.

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